Author: Jane Farrell

Myths About Palliative Care


A specialized, multidisciplinary team approach to caring for seriously ill people and their families, is often errantly reduced to end-of- life care. This misconception has led to palliative care involvement being introduced late in an illness, often depriving patients and their families of comprehensive symptom control, support and assistance with complex decision-making throughout the course of their illness when it could provide the most benefit.

Giant Pandas Could Be Source of Drugs


  Giant pandas produce a powerful antibiotic in their blood stream that may be a rich source of powerful new drugs, Chinese scientists say. The substance, which kills bacteria and fungi, could lead to new treatments against drug resistant superbugs and other diseases, they said. Researchers at Nanjing Agricultural University identified the substance, cathelicidin-AM, by analyzing panda DNA, The Daily Telegraph of London reported Sunday.

Texas Judge: No Cancer Screenings or Birth Control for Poor Women


  Texas can cut off funding to Planned Parenthood's family planning programs for poor women, a state judge ruled Monday, requiring thousands to find new state-approved doctors for their annual exams, cancer screenings and birth control. Judge Gary Harger said that Texas may exclude otherwise qualified doctors and clinics from receiving state funding if they advocate for abortion rights.

FDA Approves 1st TB Drug in 40 Years


  The Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved a Johnson & Johnson tuberculosis drug that is the first new medicine to fight the deadly infection in more than four decades. The agency approved J&J's pill, Sirturo, for use with older drugs to fight a hard-to-treat strain of tuberculosis that has not responded to other medications. However, the agency cautioned that the drug carries risks of potentially deadly heart problems and should be prescribed carefully by doctors.

Sleep Health

Best Treatments for Severe Sleep Disorders


  Sleep is one of our most ordinary but important activities. If we don’t do it “right,” we can suffer. Snoring, the partial blockage of your airway, has been linked to some serious health issues, including heart disease, diabetes and weight. And the more serious sleep apnea – a condition in which your airway can be completely blocked from anywhere to five to 50 times an hour – can be life-threatening. And in both cases, you’ll probably be plagued by dangerous drowsiness the next day, affecting everything from driving to your job.


Why I'm Taking Early Retirement


  By Judy Kirkwood For me, the sixties are more fabulous than the fifties. For one thing, beginning at age 59 1/2, as a sneak preview, you can access your IRA savings – if you have any -- with no penalty other than the regular tax (do it before and you’re hit with an additional 10 percent penalty). At age 62 you can apply to receive early Social Security benefits. At 65, we have Medicare and can perhaps drop our expensive healthcare insurance if we’ve been paying privately – depending on who is elected and what happens in Congress.

What You Might Not Know about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome


  By Judy Kirkwood An estimated 12 million Americans suffer from the painful nerve disorder of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). We’ve heard the term so much that it might start to seem as if CTS is simply something you should live with. But investigators are working on new ways to prevent and cure it.

Mental & Emotional Health

Emotional Recovery After Public Trauma


  By Judy Kirkwood Horrific events like the shootings in a Colorado movie theater and a Sikh temple in Wisconsin affect not only those directly or peripherally involved, but also many people who only hear about them on the news. “Such events leave most of us feeling vulnerable, helpless, sad and anxious,” says Linda Ligenza, a consultant to the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare. These killings, unlike those in war, happened in ordinary and familiar settings. This could have been me, we think.

Music and Alzheimer's


  By Judy Kirkwood If you've ever felt , or witnessed, the unimaginable despair and sadness that accompanies seeing a loved one with Alzheimer's, there could be good news for you. A new feature documentary, “Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory,” demonstrates the power of music to awaken and revive those suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia--and to bring them closer to being themselves once more.. 

Alternative Health

My Acupuncture Treatment


  Earlier this year I completed a six-week trial of acupuncture to see if it would banish the pain in my butt from Piriformis syndrome, an inflammation of the sciatic nerve. It didn’t fix that, but it did do something else that I hadn’t experienced with massage or chiropractic treatment (and certainly not with ibuprofen). And I did feel better.


Donald Driver Wins DWTS


  The winner of Season 14 of “DWTS” is Green Bay Packer Donald Driver, and it’s all over but the TV talk shows. One thing is for sure: this was the most satisfying seasons of “DWTS.” The quality of the dancing was extremely high and this show has left an indelible mark on its fans. I think we’ll expect more of future seasons.

Aging Well

Are You Still Mad About "Mad Men?"


  How satisfying is “Mad Men” eight episodes into Season 5 after a 17-month absence? There are rumblings and petulance – threats of not watching it if it doesn’t get more intense and brooding. In other words, we liked the old tightly wound Don, juggling wife, girlfriends and his secret history; not this new lovesick non-Don. Certainly there have been some high points.

Relationships & Love

John Edwards Is Guilty--Of VIolating Human Decency


  To me the most compelling news to surface in John Edwards’ trial for alleged violation of campaign finance laws is the scene described last week of Elizabeth Edwards ripping off her blouse and bra and confronting her husband with evidence of her scarred life (physical and emotional - she had a double mastectomy and was battling a recurrence of her cancer). “You don’t see me anymore,” she cried, as ex-aide Christina Reynolds recounted in the federal courthouse in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Wills & Estates

The Best Estate-Planning Tips


  If you don’t have a will, you are not alone. Half of Americans don’t have a will, a living will, or financial and medical powers of attorney. Yet we know a will and other estate documents would ease our family’s burdens if something happened to us.

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