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Senior Care News

Two seniors with poor vision treated with stem-cell eyepatch implants

Severe age-related macular degeneration (AMD) patients seeing far better

 

London, England — An 86-year-old man and a woman in her early 60s, both with severe age-related macular degeneration (AMD), had their vision significantly repaired after their eyes were surgically implanted with patches of retinal cells made from stem cells.

 

The stem-cell-based eyepatches were surgically implanted behind the retinas of the patients’ diseased eyes.  They worked by replenishing the eyes’ diseased cells that were causing AMD, effectively reducing or eliminating the cause.

 

Both patients were monitored for twelve months and reported improvements to their vision—going from being unable to read at all to reading up to 80 words a minute with normal reading glasses.

 

Macular degeneration accounts for almost 50 percent of all visual impairment in the developed world and usually affects people over 50 years of age.

 

Report: Alzheimer’s disease will cost U.S. $277B in 2018

Chicago, Illinois — According to the new Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report released in March, total payments to care for people living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are predicted to exceed a quarter of a trillion dollars in 2018.

 

The new report also estimates that early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s could save the United States as much as $7.9 trillion in long-term health care costs.  Costs are expected to surpass $1 trillion by 2050—at which point the report estimates that 14 million people will be diagnosed.

 

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, according to the report.  From 2000 to 2015, deaths from the disease increased 123 percent, while deaths from heart disease decreased 11 percent.

 

May 18, 2018: 1st National Older Adult Mental Health Awareness Day

Rockville, Maryland — The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Administration for Community Living (ACL) are holding the first 1st National Older Adult Mental Health Awareness Day on May 18, 2018.  The day will be marked by a live-broadcast expert panel discussion on evidence-based approaches to mental health and substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery supports for older adults.

 

In upcoming study, Prof. Victor Gurewich still fighting for two-drug heart attack/stroke treatment

Cambridge, Massachusetts — Major blood clots in the coronary arteries that serve the heart, or in blood vessels that serve the brain, are typically treated today with an artery-widening procedure called angioplasty or with a clot-busting drug called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA).

 

But physician and Harvard Medical School professor Dr. Victor Gurewich, 88, has long believed that both can be better treated by giving heart attack or stroke patients two drugs: First, a dose of tPA and then, a dose of a drug he developed called urokinase precursor (pro-UK).

 

Interestingly, tPA and urokinase occur naturally in the body—functioning as the opposite of the blood’s natural ability to form clots and prevent cuts from bleeding to death.  Using small amounts of tPA followed by larger deployments of urokinase, the body regularly dissolves minor blood clots that form inside blood vessels before they get too big.

 

For over 20 years, Dr. Gurewich has hawked his theory that giving blood-clot patients tPA followed by his pro-UK modified urokinase is more effective than angioplasty (for heart attacks) or just tPA (for strokes).  And in a STAT News profile this April, Dr. Gurewich discussed his life’s theory, the scientific evidence for it, and an upcoming June study of 100 Dutch stroke patients using his treatment approach.

 

“I’m stubborn,” he told STAT News.  “I don’t give up.”