Monday, May 31, 2010

Blood Pressure And Heart Disease Drugs May Help Fend Off Dementia

Researchers report that angiotensin receptor blockers appear to offer greater protection against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia than other high blood pressure and heart disease medication.

A growing number of people are threatened by dementia including Alzheimer’s disease as they get older explains Jesse Slome, executive director of the Americamn Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. Individuals who suffer from either disease can spend long periods of time in nursing homes or requiring care from family members.

Mid-life diseases particularly like diabetes and high blood pressure seem to be associated with a higher chance of developing dementia. Researchers explain that this is the first large scale study to investigate whether angiotensin receptor blockers reduce the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Boston University School of Medicine researchers investigated the incidence of dementia in over 800,000 individuals in the US from 2002 to 2006. They were mostly (98 percent) male subjects. The participants had cardiovascular disease and were 65 years of age or older.

Research subjects were divided in three groups: one using angiotensin receptor blockers, another the blood pressure lowering drug lisinopril and the third using other comparative drugs used for heart disease.

The findings indicate that the group on angiotensin receptor blockers was significantly less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. In addition, they reveal that angiotensin receptor blockers have an additive effect when used in combination with another type of high blood pressure drug (ACE inhibitors). In fact, individuals with existing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia who took both medicines were less likely to die early or be admitted to nursing homes.

The study is the first to compare both risk of dementia and progression of dementia in users of angiotensin receptor blockers compared with users of a drug from the same class (lisinopril) or users of other drugs prescribed for cardiovascular disease.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Belly Fat Increases Dementia Risk

According to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI), there are about 24 million people in the world living with dementia, with 4.6 million new cases coming forward every year.he study by Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) published online in the journal Annals of Neurology, confirms the inverse association of increasing BMI with lower brain volumes in older adults and with younger, middle-aged adults.

Researchers noted that this was the first study to do so in a much larger sample: previous studies have used data on up to 300 participants. This study included over 700 individuals.

For the body measures they included: Body Mass Index (BMI), waist circumference, waist to hip ratio, and measures of abdominal fat (called visceral adipose tissue or VAT) determined using computed tomography (CT) scans. They also took into account other physiology measures such as insulin resistance.

As well as confirming the link between increasing BMI and lower brain volume they found a statistically significant link between abdominal fat and lower total brain volume.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Small Business Owners Unaware of Long-Term Care Tax Deductions

The majority of small and mid-sized business owners are not familiar with the tax deductible benefits available when offering long-term care insurance plan to employees. According to one insurance company executive, tax-deductible long-term care insurance remains the best-kept secret and employers are missing out on billions of dollars of potential tax savings.

Federal and a growing number of states now offer tax deductions and tax credits for the purchase of long-term care insurance. The cost of coverage may be fully tax deductible to the business and a great deal of flexibility can be offered when initiating a plan. In addition, corporate pricing breaks of 5 percent to 10 percent, in addition to substantial spousal or couples discounts, are the norm.

According to the 2009 edition of A Business Owner’s Guide To Long-Term Care Insurance, any form of business ownership can enjoy deductions for a long-term care insurance premium. Benefits received are, as a rule, always tax-free. Premiums might be considered imputed income to an employee depending on how the company is held.

Insurers offer various forms of long-term care insurance plans designed specifically to meet the needs of either small or large employers. Policies can be personally owned but company-paid, thus staying with the insured after he or she leaves a company or retires.

Long-term care insurance offers great design flexibility for employers. For example, employers can pick and choose who participates in a plan. Properly done, there are no ERISA issues, unlike group health insurance, according to tax experts. These plans are often called “carve-outs” which allow employers to be “selective” when determining who would be covered under a long-term care insurance benefit.

Policy design provisions enable employers to pay premiums for fixed periods of time, at which point the policy is paid up for life. One of the significant benefits is that policy benefit amounts keep increasing under inflation protection options with no risk of future long-term care insurance rate hikes.

According to American Association for Long Term Care Insurance experts, policies available to employers may allow two spouses to share one benefit pool. This has the potential to double the benefit any single insured might have and eliminates much of the problem as it pertains to the benefit period chosen. At the death of one spouse, the other typically inherits the other remaining benefits free of charge.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ethnicity Affects Rate Of Falls Among Senior Men

Falls and fall prevention are a concern for the elderly and people with osteoporosis, according to data from trhe American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. Osteoporosis is an increasingly common chronic disease that causes weak and fragile bones. People with osteoporosis are at increased risk of fracture, even after a minor fall from standing height. A study presented at the World Congress on Osteoporosis 2010 reveals that among elderly men the risk of falling, and thereby breaking a bone, is influenced by age. Most significantly, it also suggests that ethnicity and environment play a role in the risk of falling. The survey study analyzed the epidemiology of falls among more than 11,000 elderly men in Sweden, the US and Hong Kong. The results showed that although the frequency of falls increased significantly with age in each country, the risk of frequent falls (men who fell two or more times over the course of one year) did not vary significantly across the different age groups. The proportion of fallers in most age groups was highest in the US, intermediate in Sweden and lowest in Hong Kong. The proportion of frequent fallers showed a different pattern, being highest in Sweden, intermediate in the US and lowest in Hong Kong. The fall epidemiology did not differ when comparing Asian men living in Hong Kong or the US.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Aging Motorcyclists At Risk Of Accidents

Doctors report finding that these aging road warriors are more likely to be injured or die as a result of a motorcycle mishap compared to their younger counterparts.

While the typical injured motorcyclist has long been thought of as a young, otherwise healthy victim of sudden injury, a study from the University of Rochester Medical Center suggests otherwise. Between 1996 and 2005, researchers found the average age of motorcyclists involved in crashes increased from approximately 34 to 39 years, and the proportion of injured riders above the age of 40 increased from around 28 percent to close to 50 percent.

Of all injured riders included in the study, 50- to 59-year-olds represented the fastest growing group, while 20- to 29-year-olds were the most rapidly declining. Accidents are a leading reason people require long-term care according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. “A small but significant porportion of claims are made by people in their 40s and 50s mostly as a result of accidents,” explains Jesse Slome, director.

For riders above the age of 40, injury severity, length of stay in the hospital or intensive care unit, and mortality were higher compared to riders below the age of 40. The risk of dying was one-and-a-half to two times more likely in riders over 40, based on the severity of the original injury. The study also found that older riders are more likely to die from less severe injuries than younger riders, to spend at least 24 hours in the intensive care unit, and to have more pre-existing co-morbidities and complications that contribute to longer hospital stays.

The increase in injury severity for older riders may be related to the reduced capacity to withstand injury as the body ages. Age-related changes, such as decreases in bone strength and brain size, may make older riders more susceptible to injury. Other factors associated with aging, such as impaired vision, delayed reaction time, and altered balance contribute to motorcycle crashes in this population, explaining in part the researchers’ finding that older riders crashed more often as a result of loss of control than younger riders.

Researchers using the National Trauma Databank reviewed the records of 61,689 motorcyclists aged 17 to 89 years involved in a motorcycle crash between 1996 and 2005. The average age of motorcyclists involved in crashes steadily increased over the study period, which is consistent with published statistics from the Motorcycle Industry Council which report that the average age of motorcycle ownership rose from 33 years in 1998 to 40 years in 2003.

Motorcycle crashes are a significant cause of injury and death on our nation’s roadways, despite the fact that motorcycles are responsible for only a small fraction of the total miles traveled annually in the United States. The authors say that the study provides justification for expanding the scope of motorcycle safety research, education and training initiatives to specifically target the older motorcyclist.