Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thursday's News 11 6 2008

Medicare Part D Coverage Will Cost More in 2009

For several weeks older Americans enrolled in the Medicare Part D (prescription drugs) program have been receiving an influx of mail concerning their current policies, and advertisements for other policies. Open enrollment for Part D Medicare is mandated to be from November 15th – December 31st every year. Some insurers have already notified their subscribers that they will have increases in either co-pays, deductibles, or both, and in at least one instance a company notified at least some subscribers that their plan would not be available in 2009.

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Health Tip: Managing Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness, also called manic depression, that may be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.

While medication can help control bipolar disorder, the American Academy of Family Physicians offers these additional recommendations:

* Research and learn about your condition, and share the information with family members.
* Establish a daily routine for sleeping and waking, eating and exercising.
* Always take your medicine exactly as directed by your doctor.
* Avoid caffeine, and medications for colds, allergies, and pain medication. Always talk to your doctor before you drink alcohol or take any other medications.
* Limit stress.
* Tell your doctor when you start to notice behavior changes or bipolar symptoms.
* Find a support group to join.

New Target for Schizophrenia Treatment

Emerging research may expand the options for controlling schizophrenia as scientists have identified a brain region that responds to more than one type of antipsychotic drug.
Research from the University of Pittsburgh say the findings illustrate for the first time that the orbitofrontal cortex could be a promising target for developing future antipsychotic drugs — even those that have very different mechanisms of action.

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Therapeutic Strategy for Alzheimer’s

A new study in the online edition of Nature Medicine describes the function and interaction of a critical molecule involved in cell death in Alzheimer’s disease patients.
These new findings reveal that blocking this molecule, called Cyclophilin D (CypD), and development of surrounding mitochondrial targets may be viable therapeutic strategies for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

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Dealing with the Blues

The events that have occurred over the past few weeks have been emotionally charged. Now the election is over and reality sets in. Days are shorter and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is already here for many.
“This is the time of the year when people are vulnerable to depression anyway,” said Dr. Thomas Nutter, assistant professor, psychiatry & behavioral neurosciences, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.
“The fact that the election happened, the economy has taken a downturn and the White Sox and the Cubs disappointed us dramatically, all of these things can help depression gain a foothold in certain individuals.”

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Most Who Have Prediabetes Don’t Know It

Although a quarter of American adults have prediabetes, most aren't aware they have it, according to the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Only 4% of Americans report having prediabetes. It is a condition marked by impaired fasting glucose (blood sugar), impaired glucose tolerance, or both. People with prediabetes are at an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. However, if people are aware that they have the condition and make the appropriate lifestyle changes, those changes can prevent or delay the development of diabetes.

Researchers from the CDC analyzed data from the 2006 National Health Interview Survey, which is a nationally representative survey of adults conducted through face-to-face interviews. In 2006, participants were asked for the first time about prediabetes. There were 24,275 adult participants 18 or older.

Of the 4% of people who had been told they had prediabetes, 68% had tried to lose or control weight, 55% had increased physical activity or exercise, 60% had reduced fat or calories in their diet, and 42% had done all three.

The prevalence of self-reported prediabetes increased with older age, being overweight or obese, and being female.

Though only 4% of participants reported having prediabetes, researchers believe that 26% of adults have it, a figure based on laboratory test results in the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

New Trials of Antipsychotics in Children Published

Even though up to 1 in 3 people with schizophrenia had their first psychotic episode as an adolescent, 2 new randomized studies are among the first to explore the use of antipsychotic medications in this young population.

The studies are published in the November issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

"The fact that these kinds of studies — industry-sponsored, large-scale placebo-controlled trials, as well as National Institutes of Health–supported research that meticulously put head-to-head comparisons across medicines — can be done in teenagers is hugely important," said Robert L. Findling, MD, director of the division of child and adolescent psychiatry at Case Medical Center, in Cleveland, Ohio, 1 of the study investigators.

"The news here is not only the results of the study, but the fact that these kinds of studies, which have historically not been undertaken and completed, are finally getting accomplished."

The 2 trials highlight the low response rates for antipsychotic medications in young people and the problem of weight gain and certain metabolic problems associated with some of these drugs.

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