December 2014 Briefing - Geriatrics

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Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Geriatrics for December 2014. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal articles, as well as the FDA approvals and regulatory changes that are the most likely to affect clinical practice.

Physician Continuity Not Tied to Adverse Hospital Events

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 31, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Adverse events in hospitalized patients are not associated with continuity of hospitalist physicians, according to a study published online Dec. 19 in the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

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Docs Making Changes to Improve Blood Pressure Control

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 31, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians have been discussing how minor, easy changes in the way they measure blood pressure have had a positive impact on hypertension control, according to a report published by the American Medical Association (AMA).

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AMA Identifies Top 10 Issues That Affected Docs in 2014

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 31, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The top 10 issues that affected physicians in 2014 include many regulatory issues relating to Medicare and data release, as well as health issues such as overprescribing of antibiotics and the Ebola crisis, according to a report published by the American Medical Association (AMA).

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Ebola, ACA, VA Scandal Top U.S. Health News for 2014

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 31, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- It started as a deadly but little-known outbreak in West Africa, but the lethal and unchecked spread of the Ebola virus dominated U.S. headlines for much of 2014, making it one of the year's top health news features.

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Surgeon General Still Has Important Role to Play

TUESDAY, Dec. 30, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The Surgeon General has an important role in educating and mobilizing the public and shaping policy on public health issues, according to an ideas and opinions piece published online Dec. 30 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Both Sexes Fight the Same Battle to Lose Weight

TUESDAY, Dec. 30, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Current evidence does not show any difference between men and women with regard to which strategies are most effective in achieving weight loss, according to research published online Dec. 11 in Obesity Reviews.

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Fiber Intake Tied to Reduced Risk of Kidney Stones

TUESDAY, Dec. 30, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Greater dietary intake of fiber, fruits, and vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of incident kidney stones in postmenopausal women, according to research published in the December issue of The Journal of Urology.

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2015 Medicare Fee Schedule Offers Payment for Chronic Care

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The 2015 Medicare Fee Schedule includes a Current Procedural Terminology Code that pays for clinical staff time for developing and implementing a care plan for patients with two or more chronic conditions, according to an article published Dec. 18 in Medical Economics.

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Patients Have Unrealistic Expectations for Treatment, Tests

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Most patients overestimate benefits and underestimate harms of treatment, tests, and screenings, according to a review published online Dec. 22 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Metformin Seems Safe for Some With Impaired Kidney Function

TUESDAY, Dec. 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- For individuals with impaired kidney function, evidence suggests that metformin use is safe in those with mild or moderate disease, according to a review published in the Dec. 24/31 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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CDC: Use of Cholesterol Meds Continues to Rise in U.S.

TUESDAY, Dec. 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The percentage of adults aged 40 and older taking cholesterol-lowering medications, including statins, rose from 20 to 28 percent between 2003 and 2012, according to a December data brief published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

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Asian-Americans to Be Screened for T2DM at Lower BMI

TUESDAY, Dec. 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has lowered the body mass index (BMI) at which Asian-Americans should be screened for type 2 diabetes.

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Ambulatory BP Monitors May Become New Standard

TUESDAY, Dec. 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Patients suspected of having hypertension may soon be asked to wear an ambulatory blood pressure monitor to confirm the diagnosis, according to a draft recommendation issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. The recommendation is based on a review published online Dec. 23 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Hospitalization Risk Seen With Clarithromycin + Certain Statins

MONDAY, Dec. 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Combining clarithromycin with certain statins increases the risk of adverse outcomes that can lead to hospitalization or even death, according to a new study published online Dec. 22 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

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Older Women Restrict Driving More Than Older Men

MONDAY, Dec. 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Older women restrict their driving activity more than older men, regardless of physical health or cognitive status, according to a study published in the November issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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Thiazide Prophylaxis for Kidney Stones Doesn't Increase DM Risk

MONDAY, Dec. 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of diabetes mellitus is not increased with thiazide diuretic prophylaxis for kidney stones, according to research published in the December issue of The Journal of Urology.

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Tips Offered to Docs, Spouses for Maintaining Happy Marriage

FRIDAY, Dec. 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Simple tips can help physicians and their spouses maintain marital happiness, according to an article published in the American Medical Association (AMA) Alliance magazine Physician Family.

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Simple, 20-Second Test May Aid Prognosis of Brain Health

FRIDAY, Dec. 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Difficulty standing on one leg may indicate that lacunar infarctions or microbleeds have already occurred, which means the risk for more serious strokes is high, the investigators according to research published online Dec. 18 in Stroke.

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Shared Medical Appointments Beneficial in Geriatric Care

FRIDAY, Dec. 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- For older patients, a shared medical appointment (SMA) program facilitates early detection and referral for geriatric syndromes, according to an article published online Nov. 29 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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CDC: Not Too Late, or Too Futile, to Get Flu Vaccine

FRIDAY, Dec. 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The flu is starting to tighten its grip on much of the United States, particularly in the South and Midwest, according to a report published in the Dec. 19 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. And more than half of the flu infections examined so far have been caused by influenza A H3N2, which appears to have mutated from the H3N2 strain included in this year's flu vaccine.

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High-Dose Flu Vaccine Beats Standard Dose for Frail Elderly

THURSDAY, Dec. 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A high-dose influenza vaccine produces a stronger immune response than the standard vaccine in frail seniors under care in nursing homes, according to a new study published online Dec. 17 in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

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Sedatives Still Prescribed for Elderly Despite Risks

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Doctors continue to prescribe benzodiazepines for seniors despite the significant risks they pose, a new study contends. The research was published online Dec. 17 in JAMA Psychiatry.

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Digital Self-Scheduling Set to Increase Considerably by 2019

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Digital self-scheduling is set to increase considerably in the next five years, according to a report published by Accenture.

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Hypoglycemia Ups Cardio Events, Mortality for Insulin-Treated

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- For insulin-treated patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, hypoglycemia is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality, according to a study published online Dec. 9 in Diabetes Care.

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Challenges ID'd in Development of the Physician Compare Website

TUESDAY, Dec. 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), information must be made available to allow the public to compare physicians, although there are considerable challenges surrounding the development of the physician performance website, Physician Compare. These challenges are addressed in a health policy brief published online Dec. 11 in Health Affairs.

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Yoga Heart Health Benefits Similar to Brisk Walking

TUESDAY, Dec. 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- People randomly assigned to yoga classes saw improvements in their weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol, similar to the health benefits of conventional exercise such as brisk walking. These research findings, the result of a review of trials, were reported online Dec. 15 in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

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Physicians Reminded of Ethical Obligations Regarding Torture

TUESDAY, Dec. 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- With the issuing of the new U.S. Senate report on interrogations, the American Medical Association (AMA) is reminding physicians of their ethical obligations relating to torture and interrogation.

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Feeling Younger Tied to Enhanced Longevity

TUESDAY, Dec. 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Seniors who said they felt three or more years younger than their actual age experienced a lower death rate over the course of eight years than people who either felt their full age or a little older, according to a research letter published online Dec. 15 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Direct Oral Anticoagulants Have Distinct Bleeding Profiles

TUESDAY, Dec. 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) have distinct bleeding profiles and require individualized management approaches, according to a state-of-the-art review published in the December issue of JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions.

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Urinary Catheters Often Left in Too Long During Hospital Stay

TUESDAY, Dec. 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Even when appropriately used, urinary catheters are often left in place longer than necessary in hospitalized patients, according to a perspective piece published online Dec. 15 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Support for Electronic Health Information Varies With Use

TUESDAY, Dec. 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Consent and purpose are important for public support of secondary uses of electronic health information, according to a study published in the Dec. 16 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Physicians Should Scrutinize Job Offers Before Accepting

MONDAY, Dec. 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians should scrutinize job offers and pay attention to specific issues before accepting a job, according to an article published Dec. 3 in Medical Economics.

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Webcast Scheduled to Discuss Maintenance of Certification

MONDAY, Dec. 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- New data relating to Maintenance of Certification (MOC) will be discussed in a free webcast to be held Dec. 17 by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

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In Nursing Homes, Statins Often Continued in Advanced Dementia

MONDAY, Dec. 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- For nursing home (NH) residents with dementia taking statins, most continue statins with the progression to advanced dementia, according to research published in the November issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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Tips Offered for Docs to Manage Their Online Reputation

FRIDAY, Dec. 12, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians can manage their online reputation, according to a report from the American Medical Association (AMA).

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Thyroidectomy, Statins May Cut Risk of Graves Ophthalmopathy

FRIDAY, Dec. 12, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Both thyroidectomy and statin use are associated with lower risk of developing thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy (TAO) in individuals with Graves disease (GD), according to research published online Dec. 11 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

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CDC: Many Patients Still Need to Get 2014-2015 Flu Vaccine

THURSDAY, Dec. 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Fewer than half of Americans have gotten a flu vaccine so far this flu season, which might be a bad sign for a season that could be potentially severe, according to a Dec. 11 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Poor Quality Sleep Tied to Higher Risk of Dementia

THURSDAY, Dec. 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Older men who have breathing difficulties or spend less time in deep sleep may be at greater risk of brain changes that can precede dementia, a new study suggests. The findings were published online Dec. 10 in Neurology.

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Nutrition, Weight Loss Key in Mobility-Impaired Adults

THURSDAY, Dec. 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Nutrition and weight loss research is needed in adults with mobility-impairing conditions, according to a review published in the December issue of Obesity Reviews.

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More Students Enrolling in U.S. Medical Schools

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- More students are enrolling in medical schools, and enrollees are more diverse than before, according to a report from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) published by the American Medical Association (AMA).

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Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Medical Advantage Plan Enrollees

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Racial and ethnic disparities exist among Medicare Advantage Plan enrollees, and improved performance on quality measures is accompanied by increased racial/ethnic equity, according to two studies published in the Dec. 11 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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More Docs, Patients Not Speaking Same Language

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- People applying to become medical residents in the United States speak a wide range of non-English languages, but many aren't the languages spoken by patients with limited English skills, according to a research letter published in the Dec. 10 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, a theme issue on medical education.

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Higher Paid Docs Earn More Money From More Procedures

TUESDAY, Dec. 9, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- High-income doctors make more money by ordering more procedures for each patient rather than by seeing more patients, according to an analysis of 2012 Medicare data published in a research letter Dec. 8 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Docs Trained in High-Cost Areas Practice More Costly Medicine

TUESDAY, Dec. 9, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Doctors who were trained in high-cost areas of the United States may be more likely to practice expensive medicine, a new study suggests; however, that effect gradually decreases over time. The study was published in the Dec. 10 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, a theme issue on medical education.

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Work-Hour Restrictions Have Not Improved Outcomes

TUESDAY, Dec. 9, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Reducing medical residents' work hours hasn't improved mortality rates, hospital readmission rates, or outcomes of surgery, according to two new studies published in the Dec. 10 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, a theme issue on medical education.

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Bisphenol A in Canned Goods Linked to Higher Blood Pressure

TUESDAY, Dec. 9, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Eating food from cans lined with the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) could raise blood pressure, a new study suggests. The report was published online Dec. 8 in the Hypertension.

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U.S. Doctors Cutting Back on Opioid Prescriptions

TUESDAY, Dec. 9, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Nine out of 10 primary care doctors in the United States are concerned about prescription drug abuse in their communities, and nearly half of the physicians surveyed said they were less likely to prescribe opioids than they were a year ago, according to a research letter published online Dec. 8 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Tramadol Use May Up Risk of Hospitalization for Hypoglycemia

TUESDAY, Dec. 9, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Tramadol use is associated with an increased risk of hypoglycemia requiring hospitalization, especially in the first 30 days of use, according to a study published online Dec. 8 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Complication Rate Up for Elderly Undergoing Spinal Fusion

MONDAY, Dec. 8, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Patients aged 65 years or older have a higher likelihood of complications when undergoing anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF), compared to younger patients, according to research published in the Dec. 1 issue of Spine.

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Patients Urged to Make the Most of Open Enrollment Season

MONDAY, Dec. 8, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Open enrollment season for health care plans provides an opportunity for reconsidering health plans and switching plans to save money, add services, or enroll in a better plan, according to a report published by Vitals.

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Statin Use Linked With Higher Risk for Cataracts

FRIDAY, Dec. 5, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Statin use may raise the risk of developing cataracts, researchers report. The study was published in the December issue of the Canadian Journal of Cardiology.

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Sleep-Disordered Breathing Linked to Functional Decline

FRIDAY, Dec. 5, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- For older women, sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) is associated with functional decline, according to a study published in the November issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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CT Scans Post-TIA Yield Clues to Future Stroke Risk

FRIDAY, Dec. 5, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A computed tomography (CT) scan shortly after a transient ischemic attack can help identify patients at risk of suffering another stroke within three months, new research suggests. The study was published online Dec. 4 in Stroke.

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CDC: Flu Vaccine May Offer Less Protection This Winter

FRIDAY, Dec. 5, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The H3N2 strain of influenza appears to be circulating most widely this season, and in the past, death rates from H3N2 have been more than double that of other flu strains, according to officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, about half of the H3N2 viruses detected by CDC researchers so far appear to have mutated, and have genetically "drifted" away from the virus strain included in this year's flu vaccine.

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Low-Dose ASA Risks Outweigh Benefits in Younger Women

FRIDAY, Dec. 5, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- For women younger than 65, taking low-dose aspirin for years lowers the risks of heart attack, stroke, and colorectal cancer by a small amount, but the benefit is countered by an increase in the risk of major gastrointestinal bleeding, according to a study published online Dec. 4 in Heart.

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AMA: Social Determinants of Health to Be Taught in Med School

THURSDAY, Dec. 4, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A new policy implemented by the American Medical Association (AMA) supports integrating more training on the social determinants of health into undergraduate medical education, according to a report published by the AMA.

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Activity Decreases Bleeding Risk From Anticoagulation Meds

THURSDAY, Dec. 4, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- For elderly patients on anticoagulant therapy, a high level of physical activity is associated with a decreased risk of major bleeding, according to a study published online Nov. 18 in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis.

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Cognitive Behavioral Tx for Insomnia Assists CA Survivors

THURSDAY, Dec. 4, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- For cancer survivors, cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) with and without armodafinil is associated with decreases in insomnia severity and improvements in sleep quality, according to a study published online Dec. 1 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Running Linked With Lower Alzheimer's Death Risk

THURSDAY, Dec. 4, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Running more than 15 miles a week may reduce the risk of dying from Alzheimer's disease, new research suggests. The study was published online Nov. 14 in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

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Mediterranean Diet May Help Boost Longevity

THURSDAY, Dec. 4, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Adhering to the Mediterranean diet appears to be associated with longer telomere length, an indicator of slower aging, according to research published Dec. 2 in The BMJ.

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NIA: 40 Percent of Seniors Report Having a Disability

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly 40 percent of Americans over the age of 65 -- about 16 million people -- live with at least one disability, according to a new National Institute on Aging report.

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Patients May Be Ignoring Cancer's Warning Signs

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Many people ignore potential warning signs of cancer, according to the results of a British survey published online Dec. 2 in PLOS ONE.

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CDC: Nearly 1 in 12 Americans Struggle With Depression

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Almost 8 percent of Americans aged 12 and older experienced moderate to severe symptoms of depression during 2009 to 2012, U.S. health officials reported Wednesday, with only about one-third of those suffering from severe depressive symptoms seeking help from a mental health professional in the previous year.

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Too Few Prostate Cancer Patients Get Bisphosphonates

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Many men on androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer aren't getting the bone-strengthening medications they may need, new Canadian research contends. The report was published in the Dec. 3 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Too Much Patient Care Tied to Faculty Members' Intent to Leave

TUESDAY, Dec. 2, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Spending "far too much/too much" time/effort on patient care is associated with increased intent to leave the institution, according to research published in Academic Medicine.

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Statin Tx Not Found to Protect Bones Amidst Inflammation

TUESDAY, Dec. 2, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Although research has suggested that statins used to treat cardiovascular disease may also reduce the risk of fracture, treatment with rosuvastatin does not reduce the risk of fracture among men and women with evidence of inflammation, according to a new study published online Dec. 1 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Midlife Diabetes Linked to Greater Cogntive Decline Later

TUESDAY, Dec. 2, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Diabetes in midlife is associated with a greater decline in cognitive skills over 20 years, according to a new study published in the Dec. 2 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Doctor Discusses Ways to Keep Morale in Medicine High

MONDAY, Dec. 1, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Despite the many frustrations for doctors in medical practice, there are ways to keep morale high, according to an article published Nov. 20 in Medical Economics.

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Most People With Dementia Have Not Been Screened

MONDAY, Dec. 1, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- More than half of Americans with dementia have never undergone screening of their cognitive function, according to a new study published online Nov. 26 in Neurology.

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Many Physicians Report Their Incomes Have Plateaued

MONDAY, Dec. 1, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Many physicians report that their personal income has not changed since last year, according to the results of the Physicians Practice 2014 Physicians Compensation Survey.

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