The Skinny on Limiting Sugar
We’ve been warned about the dangers of consuming too much sugar, but now the FDA is making a proposal that could make excess sugar harder to overlook. The organization has suggested two changes to nutrition labels: first, to add a separate subcategory to bring ‘added sugars’ to light, and second, to assign a percent daily value for these added sugars. The agency hopes that consumers will be able to better comprehend how much sugar they are getting and make healthier trade-offs.
In this related piece, Dr. Aaron E. Carroll discusses the scientific evidence about sugar consumption. His conclusions: added sugars have been proven to be detrimental to human health, whereas the case against artificial sweeteners can come apart with scrutiny. For people who drink sweetened beverages like colas, he suggests moderation and sugar-free options.
(The Evidence Supports Artificial Sweeteners Over Sugar; NYT The Upshot blog)
The Limits of ‘Can’t Hurt to Try’
It’s human nature to want to exhaust all treatment options, leaving no stone unturned. For certain patients, however, aggressive treatments may not be expected to yield results — and what’s more, they may also have a negative impact on quality of life. A research group recently explored the use of chemotherapy for cancer patients near the end of life, and their results suggested that less may sometimes be more. Patients like these may choose to decline curative treatments and focus instead on symptom management and everyday function, for example, through a palliative care program like Residential Home Health’s Comfort Path.
Home Health Not Just for Post-Hospital Care
After a hospital stay or rehab, whether from a planned surgery or from a health episode due to chronic disease, home health care can help ensure the success of the transition back home. However, home health care can actually begin any time, with a doctor’s orders — and trends are showing that the number of patients who begin care while already at home is booming. For a simple tool that can help assess your or a loved one’s need for home health care, click here.
(Home Health Dramatically Shifts Away from Post-Hospital Care; Home Health Care News)
- A massive study of Medicare data revealed that over the 15-year period from 1999 to 2013, seniors have had fewer hospitalizations, better outcomes, lower healthcare costs, and reduced death rates. The study’s lead author acknowledges that there is still room for improvement, but sees ‘remarkable progress’ in the findings. (Healthcare improving for older Americans; Reuters)
- Author Sherwin Sheik agrees with aging in place advocate Louis Tenenbaum: making adaptations and improvements to the home is one of the most important steps toward safer aging in place. (Louis Tenenbaum: ‘Our Houses Are The Key To Aging Well’; Huffington Post)
- A massive review of electronic health records found that patients with diabetes had lower incidence of Parkinson’s disease while taking a certain type of medication. This finding could spark new research into future treatment or prevention of the degenerative nerve disease. (Parkinson’s disease risk ‘lowered by diabetes drug’; MNT)
- The reason why is still not known, but research is now confirming that more women do develop Alzheimer’s, and also decline faster with the disease, compared with men. (Women’s Brains Appear More Vulnerable To Alzheimer’s Than Men’s; NPR)
- Author Lou-Ellen Barkan sings the praises of technology-supported caregiving for Alzheimer’s and dementia (and provides some specific recommendations), but cautions that these innovations should support, not replace, hands-on care and attention. (Technology and Alzheimer’s Care; Huffington Post)
- In a recent study, phone counseling to support better diabetes management got better results than information alone. Given what so many Residential Home Health patients have accomplished with clinician support, we’re not surprised at the result. (‘Dialing for Diabetes Control’ helps urban adults lower blood sugar; MNT)
- A recent AARP report suggests that US family caregivers number in the tens of millions, providing an average of 18 hours of unpaid care per week. (Families provided $470 billion in unpaid care to loved ones in 2013; Reuters)