Seniors Health chat

If a MRI indicates an "old" stroke - not known to have occurred - is it possible to estimate when it might have happened Not a TIA, but a lacunar?

My understanding is that unless it's fairly recent, you probably can't. Once the tissue is dead, it's dead. Treatment of recent strokes and brain 'events' is about limiting the damage more than restoring the damaged tissues, unless you can pick the incident very very quickly.

I just redid my First Aid qualms in a full-day session on Wednesday, including a module for brain stuff. It's scary how few minutes are available to ensure an intact, healthy brain unless proper medical assistance is provided.

There's also a fairly technical paper on PLoS-One this week examining the mechanism by which long-term memories are fixed into our cells chemically (they examined they physical changes in gene structure and chemical bonding several hours after learning sessions). From what I could understand in a quick skim, if any of this electro-chemical process breaks down, we're more vulnerable to memory loss and dementia.

really interesting research from China just published, looking at the impact of vision impairment on older adults' ability to manage stairs and how this affects other aspects of their lives.

The study was town-wide. The conclusions seem to be that if you live alone, have vision impairment, and are older than age 60years then if you have difficulty managing stairs, you're increasingly at risk of compounding medical conditions (diabetes, hypertension, depression, lowered cognition) the older you are - and mainly because of lowered self-confidence.

Partway through the discussion, there's a curious phrase which is either a misprint or new link uncovered in the study. Increasing inability to manage stairs also leads to increasing inability manage chairs, which must be incredibly frustrating.

And this paper has revealed the mechanisms by which the habit of good aerobic exercise from middle age protects our brains and higher thinking into advanced old age. Unless you've got a particular genetic makeup which resists the benefits.

It's technical. Basically, the message is: start regular exercising by your 40s-50s, or as soon afterwards as you can. Make it something you enjoy, and vary it every now and then. The more years you spend exercising, the better your brain health will be.

Report on flexibility and ageing: 

Yes, you can improve your situation  grin 

And about that Food poisoning outbreak over the weekend: did you get the news it's due to celery/onion mix contaminated with e. Coli, in Costco chickens?

Report in Health News. 

From Robert Roe, Maplewood Health Officer:  Joanne, thank you for the food outbreak info.   I got it from you first and not from public health news updates.  

Robert, gosh! I'm glad I could help. 

Here's the link, for everyone else.

So, generally on balance and falls risk:

I was just catching up on some reading for work, which included a chunk of research abstracts from SafetyLit. I've already presented some of those links around here...

The big thing I've picked up on today is around gait, balance and predicting falls risk. Please, make sure you can comfortably stride at varying speeds including moderately fast, for 6 mins minimum  and with as good leg muscle strength as you can manage. This is what you will be assessed on, when you undergo 'falls risk assessment'. It doesn't matter if you sway, if you take long enough strides because this helps you keep balance; if you sway a lot, work on improving your upper limb strength too, to minimise injury if stumbling. 

And most important of all: watch for medication and medical issues. Hypoglycaemia is a big contributor to falls-related hospital visits for older Type 2 diabetics (over age 80), so manage your blood sugars well. 

Multiple medications may be a contributor: more than 3 kinds of meds (not doses) a day might set up slowed reactions etc especially if you're taking meds for one of several conditions known to affect cognition, awareness, muscle strength, dizziness etc.  More than 7 medications a day, and decreased strength added to lowered confidence means increased probability of fractures in any fall.

if you're over 66, and a man, please be extra alert whenever you're prescribed a new medication. Several medications prescribed for men have been found, in some cases, to combine with other drugs and medical conditions to increase dizziness or narrowness of attention (focus), leading to sudden instability.  These falls tend to result in fractures (I'm not sure why). So check with both the doctor and the pharmacist that the new medication is right with everything else you're taking, and with all your conditions. 

I'm not trying to be alarmist. Really! oh oh the biggest factor for in-residence/in-hospital falls with injury was over-protective fear of falls by care staff! And in both India and Korea, researchers found that community-dwelling older people (85 years and older) had falls with injuries through: neglecting low vision; wet slippery floors; living without a spouse/living alone; narrow doorways. 

Cross-posted in About the Brain:

We've often wondered about the risk of developing memory loss, and some of the associated behavioural challenges, that we see in our older loved ones. Some of us truly dread knowing it could happen. 
Now there's a test that our doctors can run on their computers, with a fairly good chance of accuracy. BUT NOT IF WE ARE 80years or older! The test is only good for younger-oldies. oh oh 

Frail seniors and surgery: is it worth the risk??? Perhaps reading this study will help. 

Shall we dance?

Fountain of brain youth! oh oh for a physically youthful brain, take the stairs!

Upshot of this study is that, for each flight you regularly climb, you can take a year of age off your brain's physical age. Now that's reassuring!

here's another of those fun studies: this one looking at the impact of interval training. Turns out, you only need one minute of high intensity regular exercise to make a difference! Who's too time-poor??

This story says that emercing oneself in an activity helps aging.  He's talking about tennis, but I am wondering if learning a language also helps:

Learning a language is great exercise for an aging brain, not as much for the body. The body needs to keep moving to fend off some effects of aging.

Joints, they are a problem.

if joints are problematic, swimming is helpful.

Creepy 'happy milestone birthday' letters from ghastly politicians with suspect ethics are injurious to a citizen's mental health, not mention her potentially stubbed big toe. 

Especially when you never hear from said politicians on any other personal occasion. And when all this piece of mistimed correspondences says is two lines. 


Hum, aren't you having elections soon?  Ask your neighbors, maybe they all got the same letter  oh oh 

Elections held last Saturday cheese we still don't know who won (yep, it's a cliff hanger. All ballots are written on paper with a pencil, and are counted by hand. We're still counting. It's neck-and-neck.)

It was a cheap stunt, I'm fairly sure. There are seniors benefits that kick in at age 65, and some tax savings for super that used to kick in at age 55 and 60, but were changed; I'm pretty sure this politician would write about any of that. She might write if she thought (stupid twit) she could get me to vote for her Party. oh she gives me the creeps!

Are there any politicians that you like?  I heard Tony Blair's speech on CNN this morning, and I love him even more now.  

A couple. People with strong integrity, driven to achieve a particular community goal, then retire from public view. They always surprise me. (Wayne Goss, Paul Stevenson, a couple of others)

This is a very useful road map how to keep the brain healthy.  You have to do something everyday, something different every day, and you need to include exercise and socialization.®ion=c-column-middle-span-region&WT.nav=c-column-middle-span-region&_r=0

Would appreciate any advice, experience, or information on dealing with a pressure ulcer in the heel. Thanks

I wish I could help, but a quick Google shows me that pressure sores are more complicated than I might have thought. I would call the doctor and alert all caretakers and develop a plan that suits the specific circumstances. Sorry...  LOL 

diabetes? Depressed immune system? If so, you need medical advice for best approach.

I can also pop down to my podiatrist to see if he has a handout or link for you. But seriously, because of the risk of serious infection and serious deterioration, you may need medical advice. (There are hospital committees dedicated to preventing the emergence of a hint of pressure wounds)

he is getting medical care and seeing a wound specialist. Today he got antibiotics added.

I think the panic is mine as caretaker. I change the dressing daily, using the debriding ointment, etc. it is very hard to keep his foot raised in the recliner and is hopeless in bed as he slips off the pillows.

The doctor wants to see him weekly --a schlep with the wheelchair -- and he said healing could take months!

Pity party here gulp 

totally understand - very intense and frustrating, no matter how much care you take. FWIW, professional teams are known to cry their eyes out (behind the scenes) with this recurrent problem.

Lack of circulation and lack of movement are the primary issues. Increasing tissue fragility only compounds the matter because it makes it harder to massage and gently change positions.

I know the hospital here invested in new beds and specially designed air-pocket mattresses that change their movement patterns to prompt muscles and blood vessels to move as the gravity shifts. But that's hard to replicate at home. 

Sending hugs, big ones.

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