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Oh, My Aching Back: Docs Latest Advice is Do Nothing and It Often Gets Better

Latest guidelines from American College of Physicians: “Most patients with acute back pain have self-limited episodes that resolve on their own; many do not seek medical care” Don’t take drugs as your first approach to treatment, they advise., Given that most patients with acute or subacute low back pain improve over time regardless of treatment,…

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Don’t Go Broke Paying for Cancer Care: Check these Resources

Cancer  care is costly. Many patients struggle with their bills; some of them skip taking medicine because they can’t afford to pay for the prescriptions. About two-thirds of cases are diagnosed in people over the age of 60. The Medicare Part D prescription plans  pose serious problems for people with cancer, whose treatment often calls…

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What Medicare Won’t Pay For: Check Your Teeth, Eyes, Ears and Feet

Need a tooth implant to replace a cracked or rotten tooth? Need hearing aids because you listened to too much rock’n roll when you were a kid? Need glasses because you are having trouble driving at night? Often, Medicare won’t help you at all unless these problems are triggered by some underlying disease. Here is…

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What’s Up, Doc? Diagnostic errors cause 10% of patient deaths

When a doctor makes a mistake in diagnosis, the results can have “devastating consequences,” says a new Report by the Institute of Medicine, calling for a major effort to improve the work of detecting and treating disease. “Most people will experience at least one diagnostic error in their lifetimes, said the report, “Improving Diagnosis in…

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Broccoli Plus Your Gut’s Bacteria: A Cancer Fighter

Chemicals in vegetables -including the ones your mother wanted you to eat but maybe you balked at them-could become powerful soldiers in the war against cancer. Special molecules found in broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts may be transformed by microbes in your gut into cancer fighting  compounds, according  Dr. Francis S. Collins, director of the…

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Red Wine, Chocolate Won’t Help Us Live Longer

Resveratrol was the great gift to lovers of red wine and chocolate. This powerful antioxidant “was eventually isolated from red wine, as well as cocoa, red grapes, and a variety of other berries and roots,” says Dr. Francis Collins, director of the federal National Institutes of Health, in a May 20 blog post. “After that,…

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Hoping to Grow Old? Some Longevity Calculators

The fastest growing population group in the US is the cohort aged 85 and older. Some are lucky, healthy and financially strong. Others, not so much. Let’s hope you make it to advanced age and fit in that first fortunate group. Our statistically-conscious society is overflowing with calculators, tools to estimate life expectancy. Here are…

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Lots of diseases mimic Alzheimer’s-Don’t Panic

We lose the car keys again, can’t remember the title of the great movie we saw last year, and forget a friend’s birthday. Panic sets in, and the specter of Alzheimer’s disease rears its ugly head. Everyone over the age of 50 is struck by these incidents and begins worrying. Sometimes we dismiss them with…

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Help for Caregivers: Here are the Best Links

If you are reading this,  the odds are good that you are a soldier in the caregivers army, more than 60 million strong, the volunteering  group of Americans who care for others, for parents, for spouses, for children, for other relatives, for friends. You do it for love, for friendship, for devotion, not for money….

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Woes of Spousal Caregivers: Older, Poorer, Less Help from Family and Friends

Caregiving always is a demanding task. When adult children take the task, they are called members of the sandwich generation, because they often care for their own children, as well as aging parents. But the responsibility may be the most difficult for the spouse who becomes a caregiver. These spouses often are themselves burdened with…

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