Preparing for Surgery or Treatment with ‘Prehab’
Patients who undergo surgeries, or other aggressive treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation, are often guided in rehabilitation exercises afterward to build back lost strength and endurance. However, some specialists have begun to explore the potential of rehab-style exercise done in anticipation of such procedures. They reason that this so-called prehab allows patients to enter treatment at a better level of fitness that will help them endure procedures better and recover faster.
Already a common practice for joint replacement surgeries, prehab is now gaining interest as an approach to cancer treatments. Research on effectiveness for cancer patients is in the beginning phases, and insurance providers don’t necessarily cover prehab services, as they might with conventional rehab. Still, specialists are optimistic about the long-range benefits of exercise and wellness practices as preemptive weapons toward easier recoveries.
(Rehab Before Cancer Treatment Can Help Patients Bounce Back; NPR)
Spiritual Support during Illness or End of Life
A handful of studies spanning thousands of patients have reported a connection between a patient’s sense of spirituality and subjective outlook and function. Among the researchers, speculation varies about the reasons for the observed correlation, ranging from character tendencies to social connections. But at its core, the results suggest that individuals inclined toward religious or spiritual support should benefit from seeking it out.
(Spirituality may be tied to easier cancer course; Reuters)
For patients who face logistical barriers to getting the spiritual counsel they desire, technology may fill the gaps — including newly announced video-conferencing services.
(Seriously ill patients can get spiritual counseling via Skype; Reuters)
Don’t Let Side Effects Interfere with Your Drug Regimen
Unpleasant side effects can make people less likely to take their medications as instructed, whether or not they realize it — as shown by a recent study of breast cancer patients. But stopping, skipping, or changing your medication regimen can carry enormous health risks. If your medications are causing problems, talk to your doctor or clinician about how to manage the issue. Or consider exploring options for palliative care, such as Residential Home Health’s Comfort Path program, which focuses on managing symptoms and improving quality of life for patients undergoing curative treatments.
(Side effects may lead breast cancer patients to skip drugs; Reuters)
- Before, during, and after a surgical procedure, music is found to soothe and improve. (Music boosts recovery from surgery, reduces pain; Reuters)
- Within reason, more exercise yields more benefits for physical health. However, a recent study found that for older adults, exercise led to better cognition performance — even in small amounts. (The Right Dose of Exercise for the Aging Brain;NYT Well blog)
- Author Marie Marley too often sees loved ones of Alzheimer’s patients attempt ‘normal’ interactions, not believing or understanding how cognition has changed. In this essay, she suggests acceptance and adaptation to find other ways to connect. (Denial May Deprive Alzheimer’s Caregivers of Joy; Huffington Post)
- New research suggests that even for type 2 diabetes patients who do not need to take insulin, more frequent blood glucose checks (i.e. more than one per day) may help them make real-time decisions for better self-management. (People with type 2 diabetes do indeed benefit from blood glucose self-monitoring: study; MNT)
- MIND, a specialized diet plan emphasizing green leafy vegetables and limiting red meat and many fats, may be able to slow down age-associated cognitive decline. (Special veg-rich diet may slow cognitive decline in elderly, study shows; Reuters)
- In complicated grief, a person’s grief can remain evergreen and last far longer than usual. This piece suggests that although opinions on the definition and characterization of this condition differ, the phenomenon is more common than we might think. (A Grief So Deep It Won’t Die; New York Times)
- A research team out of Brigham and Women’s Hospital has reported that a protein present in patients having heart attacks may also be used to identify people at risk for future heart disease. (Predicting risk for deadly cardiac events; MNT)