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Reading aloud best boosts memory

Waterloo, Ontario — A modern Canadian study confirms what the Talmudic ancients knew millennia ago: To best remember the text, repeatedly read and recite it aloud.

 

The University of Waterloo had 95 study participants try to remember written information using one of four different ways: reading it silently; listening to someone else read it; listening to a recording of themselves reading it; or personally reading it aloud.

 

The study found that reading out loud proved to be the best way to remember the information.

 

Results confirm that learning and memory benefit from active involvement, researchers said.

 

The findings were published recently in the journal Memory.

 

New York becomes first “age-friendly” U.S. state

Albany, NY — In late December, the American Association of Retired People (AARP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) declared New York the first U.S. state to achieve their “Age-Friendly” designation.

 

The designation is based on eight age-friendly livability categories outlined by WHO and AARP, which include outdoor spaces and buildings; social participation; and respect and social inclusion.

 

New York home-care agencies like HamaspikCare have furthered those variables for the state’s seniors, while managed long-term care (MLTC) plans like Hamaspik Choice—a key component of Gov. Cuomo’s Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT)—further keep New York seniors healthy.

 

Medicare scaling back nursing-home fines

Washington, DC — Responding to complaints from industry groups in recent years, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has been scaling back the levying of fines against nursing homes in recent months.

 

This past June, CMS rescinded a rule that banned nursing homes from pre-emptively requiring residents to submit to arbitration to settle disputes rather than going to court, according to The New York Times.

 

A CMS memo in July discouraged directors of state agencies that survey nursing homes from issuing daily fines for violations that began before an inspection.  Instead, the new CMS policy favors one-time fines.

 

In October, CMS discouraged its regional offices from levying fines against nursing homes, even for serious health violations, if the error was a “one-time mistake.”  But intentional disregard for residents’ health and safety should still merit fines, the CMS also reportedly said at the time.

 

And in November, CMS exempted nursing homes that violate eight new safety rules from penalties for 18 months.  Homes must still follow the rules, though.

 

Federal records show that close to 6,500 of America’s roughly 16,000 nursing homes, or four of every ten, have been cited at least once for a serious violation since 2013.  Medicare has fined two-thirds of those homes.  The average fine in recent years has been $33,453, but 531 nursing homes amassed combined federal fines above $100,000, records show.

 

Nursing care advocates argue that massive five-digit fines against nursing homes—imposed on a per-day or per-incident basis—are the only way to force nursing homes to change.  Industry leaders, however, say that the fines amount to burdensome over-regulation.

 

Does rain really cause achy joints?

Many people insist their joints ache more when it rains.  

 

To scientifically explore that notion, Harvard Medical School researchers reviewed four years of doctor-visit data by 1.5 million members of Medicare, the federal healthcare plan for seniors.

 

Researchers then correlated information from those 11 million doctor visits with U.S. rainfall data over the same four years, 2008 through 2012.

 

The study found that people were no more likely to visit the doctor with joint or back pain during rainy weeks than sunny ones.  Even among people with arthritis, the research found no connection between rainfall and patient complaints about aches and pains.

 

The idea that weather affects bodily symptoms goes back to ancient times—and to this day, many people firmly believe that certain weather conditions make their joint pain worse.  Specifically, rainfall—and humidity or changes to barometric pressure—is most often blamed.

 

The findings were published Dec. 13 in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).