Media Monday: Health News-I encourage my children to read this

My local newspaper seemed to be filled with an inordinate number of health related stories, all versions taken from national news wire articles.

Some of the headlines include: (no, I’m not linking them)

Clues to how people bounce back from surgery” by Lauren Neergaard of the AP. I don’t have any surgeries planned in the near future so this one doesn’t interest me.

Dry-roasting might be peanut allergy trigger” by Karen Kaplan of the Los Angeles Times. I take the seriousness of peanut allergies, well seriously, however since learning of toxic mold issues with most peanuts processed in the United States, I avoid those legumes most of the time.

Level of education predicts health outcome, study finds” by Jason Millman of the Washington Post. This one seems like a no-brainer to me.

Think you drink a lot? Top 10% down 74 drinks a week” by Christopher Ingraham of the Washington Post. Coming from a long line of alcoholics again not surprising to me personally.

In military related health news we have “Report says services for female veterans fall short” by Matthew Daly of the AP. Matthew, this is not news. Speaking medically right now services for women, in any field, anywhere, fall short.

Agencies launch mammoth study on opioid alternatives” by Emily Wax-Thibodeaux of the Washington Post. This story references the large set of indicators that link the use of opioid medications to addiction in veterans trying to manage chronic pain. The point is to highlight alternate therapies. Hmmm… long-term use of opioids causing more harm than good. Who would have thought that could happen.

Lastly, also personally, and the story my adult children need to pay attention to:

Mental lapses can be warning flags” by Melissa Healy of the Los Angeles Times. As I read this article I noted that I technically did not fall under the umbrella term used by Ms Healy defining myself as a “senior.” She reserved that label for those over sixty. Regardless of my lack of age, I did pause to absorb a few specific points. A new study in the journal Neurology followed 531 participants with an average age of seventy-three. Those who actually self-reported memory issues during the ten-year study exhibited more likelihood to develop “mild cognitive impairment, and to have Alzheimer’s-like plaques and tangles in their brains upon death even when dementia was never diagnosed” (Healy).

So backing up a bit here, as I read this I understand the article to mean that if I am self-aware enough to be concerned, and more specifically mention out loud those concerns, regarding mental lapses such as misplacing keys, forgetting appointments or difficulty in retrieving words and names, then I may be standing in line for issues later on as I age. The article states that “people who reported memory complaints were nearly three times more likely to develop clinically significant memory and thinking problems” (Healy).

I don’t want to cry wolf, nor do I want my adult children to begin making plans for placing me in an Alzheimer’s care facility tomorrow. I do however, want to be considered among the “cognitive complainers” that Healy writes about, even though I am not yet sixty or above. When I think about that fact actually, the not having reached sixty age limit yet, I find this article even more worrisome. I do forget names and I do find myself searching for a word at times. Not everyday, not with any regularity at all, but sometimes…I find myself in obvious pause, waiting for the word that I know is right there, yet I draw a blank.

The only thing left to say at this point is: Cara, Jeff, Alison-you have been warned.

Healy, M. (2014). LA Times. Science Now. Cognitive Complaints in the Elderly Are Often Dementia Harbingers. Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-cognitive-complaints-dementia-harbinger-20140924-story.html

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