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Affiliated with the Rhode Island AFL-CIO “Fighting for the future of our members.” “NOW, more than ever!!!” Publication 2018 Issue 08 Published in house by the RI ARA

February 25, 2018 E-Newsletter

RI ARA 2017© All Rights Reserved

AFL-CIO President Trumka tells unions it’s time to go on offense

WASHINGTON – AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is challenging organized labor to go on the offense, despite control of Washington and states by anti-union politicians. The fed leader issued his demand at the United Auto Workers political conference in D.C., in early February. He headlined a parade of speakers, including Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash. Trumka spoke just days before GOP President Donald Trump proposed his federal budget for fiscal 2019, which starts Oct. 1, but after the Republican-run Congress – with some Democratic help – broke months of budget deadlock and passed a 2-year budget blueprint. The blueprint ended the threat of another government shutdown, and avoided a controversial vote on U.S. public debt. Pro-worker Democrats, in exchange for their key support, got increases in domestic spending, but not a solution – which both unions and they campaigned for – to keep the 690,000 Dreamers in the U.S. for good. The budget blueprint also established a special commission, to report by midNovember, with legislation solving the fiscal problems of troubled multi-employer joint labor-management pension plans, pro-worker Sen. Sherrod

Brown, D-Ohio, reported. All that came just after Trumka told the UAW “It’s time to drop our shield, pick up our sword and go on offense for a while,” to campaign for protecting pensions, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, to rebuild infrastructure and to “protect our water from becoming poisoned like it was in Flint, Mich.” “These investments will pay dividends for generations to come and will make our country more competitive in the world,” he said. But in an indication of the uphill political battle workers and their allies face, protecting pensions and Medicare run counter to the GOP’s budget blueprint. GOP-run governments in Indiana and Kentucky are forcing Medicaid recipients to work – or get cut off. Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has talked of cutting Social Security increases and Trump EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is rolling back clean water regulations. Trumka also touched on trade, saying workers “want trade deals that actually work for people,” a key union cause in general and UAW cause in particular. Trump promised to pull out of jobs-losing trade pacts, but is “renegotiating” NAFTA, instead. Due to those deals and the nation’s trade deficit, “More jobs were outsourced in 2017 than any of the previous five years. And the new tax law” – which Trump and the GOP pushed through Congress on

party-line votes – “gives corporations more reasons to ship jobs out of the U.S.,” he said. To achieve such goals, Trumka urged more unionists to run for public office. At least two are seeking governorships, in Iowa and Minnesota, for example. But he also reminded delegates “we must hold each and every elected official accountable — regardless of what party they belong to.” Last year, at its convention the AFL-CIO approved a Workers Bill of Rights, and said it would be a virtual litmus test for political endorsements. Trumka also criticized the Trump administration for killing federal rules to protect overtime pay and worker health and safety, as 150 workers die from injuries and occupational illnesses every day. “If 150 people died each day from terrorism, the public would be screaming for action. Nobody stands up and screams: 150 workers died today,” he said. Stabenow, Jayapal and new NAACP President Derrick Johnson stressed other themes. Johnson warned against “a house divided,” to use Abraham Lincoln’s phrase, between labor and other progressive groups, and especially on civil rights. He predicted the right wing would continue to use divide-andconquer tactics to try to pit white against black against brown against any other “others.” Labor and civil rights organizations “are natural allies,” Johnson said. And all the

progressives “must stay sharply focused on the next five years to turn the tide on the attacks from the right.” “What is at stake is our democracy,” said the Detroit native who now lives in Mississippi — where Nissan successfully split white and black workers to defeat a UAW organizing drive. “We have to focus. We can only do that when we have a clear message,” he explained. Jayapal, a native of India who migrated to the U.S. at age 16, hit the Trump administration’s use of the ugly term “chain migration,” to describe how family members first become U.S. citizens or legal residents and then apply to bring close relatives over. Trump demands an end to such immigration as part of his price for legalizing the Dreamers. “The president and his supporters in immigration have weaponized the term chain migration to thwart a noble goal: Keeping families intact,” she said. She noted the right accepted such migration as long as it was restricted to whites, which it was until 1986. “We cannot change our immigration system to make America white again,” she said. Stabenow slammed the Trump -GOP tax cut for the rich and corporations, as it channels more than 80 percent of its cuts to them and the top 1 percent. “Corporate investors get millions; American workers get Twinkies,” she said.

Rhode Island Alliance for Retired Americans, Inc. • 94 Cleveland Street • North Providence, RI • 02904-3525 • 401-480-8381 •

House Republicans Vote To Take Away Rights From The Disabled By Gutting The ADA Democrats and advocacy groups are blasting HR 620 Democratic Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said on the House floor, “Now we have on the Floor a bill that would undermine the central tenet of the ADA, the right of victims of discrimination to seek redress for exclusion. Requiring victims of discrimination to provide notice of a violation before bringing a lawsuit is an improper shift of the burden of compliance onto victims

– one not required of any other group by any other civil rights law. Not a single civil rights law gives this kind of provision.” The ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jarrold Nadler (D-NY) warned, The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017, would undermine the civil rights of Americans with disabilities by significantly weakening the key enforcement tool of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which is the filing of private lawsuits by discrimination victims. Congress passed the ADA 28 years ago with

the goals of fully integrating persons with disabilities into the mainstream of American life and counteracting discriminatory social attitudes towards the disabled. By making it harder for persons facing such discrimination to vindicate their rights in court, H.R. 620 ultimately undermines these goals.” HR 620 is intended to undermine the civil rights of Americans with disabilities HR 620 has one goal, and that it to make it more difficult for disabled Americans to get equal access to businesses and

establishments. It has been a goal of Republicans for more than a decade to undermine the ADA. If a person with a disability can’t gain access to a business or establishment, that’s their problem. We already know how Trump feels about differently abled people, so if the bill passes the Senate, it is certain to become law. Civil rights are under assault, and only a united wall of Americans can keep this country equal and free for all.

ADA Education and Reform Act is an affront to Americans with Disabilities "It’s a travesty that this legislation is even up for a vote" Statement of Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, regarding the scheduled House vote to roll back the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): “H.R. 620, the ADA Education and Reform Act, rolls back the protections that individuals with disabilities have received through the ADA for more than a quarter of a century. If it were to become law, it would be a major step backwards for our country. Even the name of

the legislation is cynical. “The 1990 law ensures that people with disabilities have equal access to public accommodations. It covers businesses and service establishments like grocery stores, doctors’ offices, and homeless shelters. ““The bill removes the incentives for businesses to comply with the law and imposes significant burdens on Americans with disabilities. Currently, the law provides legal recourse to disabled individuals to ensure that business and other establishments comply

with the ADA law. We must not take that away. “By providing businesses a 120day waiting period before the person reporting a violation can take the case to court, this bill weakens the ADA. During this time, businesses would not be penalized as long as they are making ‘substantial progress’ towards becoming ADAcompliant. However, ‘substantial progress’ is not defined and would be left to the courts. “This legislation is misguided and an affront to disabled

Americans, many of whom are Alliance members. It is a travesty that this legislation is even up for a vote Rich Fiesta and we urge all members of the House to vote against it.“

“Fighting for the future of our members.” “NOW, more than ever!!!”

Langevin Opposes Bill to Fundamentally Undermine the Americans with Disabilities Act Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), co-chair of the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus Congressman and the first Langevin quadriplegic elected to Congress, voted today against H.R. 620, the ADA Education and Reform Act, a bill that undermines the civil rights of Americans with disabilities by creating significant hurdles for victims of discrimination to seek justice under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). H.R. 620 passed the House by a vote of 225 to 192: “I am gravely disappointed that the House acted today not to

advance civil rights, but to take them away,” said Congressman Langevin. “For the past 27 years, the ADA has significantly improved the quality of life for me and millions of people with disabilities by protecting us from discrimination. This bill reverses decades of progress by undercutting our ability to assert our rights under the law through the use of a ‘notice and cure’ provision. But justice delayed is justice denied. Businesses should not be encouraged to ignore the law until someone complains, which is exactly what this legislation does. I’m deeply concerned that this bill will bring our country back to the days when

discrimination was commonplace, and I am saddened that Congress sent a message to people with disabilities that we are not equal, or worthy of the same civil rights protections as others.” During debate, Congressman Langevin offered a bipartisan amendment to strip the most egregious provision from the bill. The amendment, which was cosponsored by the Republican Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus, Congressman Gregg Harper (R-MS), would have eliminated H.R. 620’s “notice and cure” requirement. As drafted, a person claiming discrimination due to an architectural barrier must provide 60 days’ notice of an

alleged violation and then wait an additional 120 days for “substantial progress” to be made in removing the barrier before further legal action may be pursued. Currently, no civil rights statute has a similar requirement that an aggrieved party must offer notice before receiving injunctive relief from a court. The ADA does not permit suits for compensatory or punitive damages. Langevin’s amendment was rejected by a vote of 226 to 188. H.R. 620 was opposed by over 200 civil rights, disability rights, and other organizations.

Rhode Island Alliance for Retired Americans, Inc. • 94 Cleveland Street • North Providence, RI • 02904-3525 • 401-480-8381 •

President’s Budget Targets Critical Programs for People with Medicare This week, President Trump submitted his annual budget request to Congress. The administration’s plan includes legislative proposals and detailed funding recommendations for Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) which runs from October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019. While the President’s budget request is not binding on Congress and does not directly lead to any program or funding changes, it does outline the administration’s priorities and serves as a roadmap for future rulemaking and legislative action. It is, at its core, a statement of values. It’s incredibly troubling, then, that this year’s budget blueprint again prioritizes deep cuts to programs critical to the health and economic security of older adults and people with disabilities—including Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act.

The President’s FY19 budget recommends more than $490 billion in Medicare cuts over 10 years. If these changes were implemented, people with Medicare would face additional, significant barriers to accessing care. Not only would the budget request curtail beneficiary appeal rights and cause some to progress through the prescription drug “donut hole” more slowly, it would also expand prior authorization in traditional Medicare and incentivize health care providers to stint on care for those with ongoing, chronic conditions. Through these and other changes, the administration’s proposal largely fails people with Medicare and their families. While the budget does seem to acknowledge the problems of Medicare beneficiaries with the highest prescription drug costs, it does nothing to address the underlying problem of exorbitant drug prices, and would actually worsen affordability for many Medicare beneficiaries, half of whom live

on less than $26,000 a year. In addition, the budget would eliminate the Medicare State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs). SHIPs provide one-on-one, unbiased, personalized counseling to Medicare beneficiaries, helping them understand their rights and navigate their coverage options. With over 3,000 state and local offices, SHIP programs are critical to meeting the evergrowing demand for counseling and assistance at the community level. Gutting the program would leave millions of older adults, people with disabilities, and their families with nowhere to turn for personalized help. The budget’s recommended changes would be particularly devastating for the 11 million people with Medicare who also rely on Medicaid for their health and long-term care needs. The budget would end Medicaid as we know it by slashing more than $1.4 trillion over the next decade and transforming the program into a block grant or per capita cap system. And the

budget renews the administration’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, ending health coverage for millions and threatening access for millions more. In short, this budget is full of damaging policies that would make it harder for people with Medicare to meet their basic needs. We urge Congress and the administration to reject this flawed budget, and to instead pursue bipartisan solutions that prioritize the health and wellbeing of all Americans. Read our statement with the Center for Medicare Advocacy and Justice in Aging. The Medicare Rights Center is in the process of analyzing the impact of the President’s budget request on people with Medicare and their families. Stay tuned for updates!

This article made possible by generous support from the Retirement Research Foundation.

WHERE DID THAT MONEY GO? Remember, not only did you and I contribute to Social Security but your employer did, too. It totaled 15% of your income before taxes. If you averaged only $30K over your working life, that's close to $220,500. Read that again. Did you see where the Government paid in one single penny? We are talking about the money you and your employer put in a Government bank to ensure you and me that we would have a retirement check from the money we put in, not the Government. Now they are calling the money we put in an entitlement when we reach the age to take it

back. If you calculate the future invested value of $4,500 per year (yours & your employer's contribution) at a simple 5% interest (less than what the Government pays on the money that it borrows). After 49 years of working you'd have $892,919.98. If you took out only 3% per year, you'd receive $26,787.60 per year and it would last better than 30 years (until you're 95 if you retire at age 65) and that's with no interest paid on that final amount on deposit! If you bought an annuity and it paid 4% per year, you'd have a lifetime income of $2,976.40 per month.

THE FOLKS IN WASHINGTON HAVE PULLED OFF A BIGGER PONZI SCHEME THAN BERNIE MADOFF EVER DID. Entitlement my foot; I paid cash for my social security insurance! Just because they borrowed the money for another government spending, doesn't make my benefits some kind of charity or handout!! Remember the benefits for members of Congress?  free healthcare, outrageous retirement packages, 67 paid holidays, three weeks paid vacation, unlimited paid sick days.

Now that's welfare, and they have the nerve to call my social security retirement payments entitlements? They call Social Security and Medicare an entitlement even though most of us have been paying for it all our working lives, and now, when it's time for us to collect, the government is running out of money. Why did the government borrow from it in the first place? It was supposed to be in a locked box, not part of the general fund. Sad isn't it?

Rhode Island Alliance for Retired Americans, Inc. • 94 Cleveland Street • North Providence, RI • 02904-3525 • 401-480-8381 •

Medicare Advantage Provider Directory Errors Pervasive Medicare Advantage organizations (MAOs) continue to do a poor job of maintaining accurate provider directories. These essential documents, which beneficiaries depend on to make informed plan selection and provider choices, have long been a source of frustration and confusion for Medicare beneficiaries and advocates. In its second round of online provider directory reviews, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) found that 52% of the provider directory locations listed had at least one inaccuracy. Those errors included providers who weren’t at the

location listed, providers who didn’t accept the plan at that location, providers who weren’t accepting new patients despite the directory saying that they were, and incorrect or disconnected phone numbers. When CMS conducted its first review of MAOs’ provider directories last year, it found that 45% of locations listed were inaccurate. While the report does say that the first and second reports aren’t directly comparable “due to minor updates . . . [in] methodology,” at the very least, the latest review’s results indicate the problem isn’t getting any better. CMS also noted that its findings were not driven by very poor results from a few organizations but instead were widespread among the third of

all MAOs that were reviewed. “Very few organizations performed well in our review,” the agency said. At a minimum, provider directory errors can make members frustrated with an MAO, the report noted. But they can also cast doubt on the adequacy and validity of the MAO’s network as a whole, and even result in coverage denials, access problems, and interruptions in care. Based on the results of its reviews, CMS has sent 23 notices of noncompliance, 19 warning letters, and 12 warning letters “with a request for a business plan” to Medicare Advantage insurers. However, the agency did not indicate that it would increase oversight or take responsibility

for these errors, instead emphasizing that MAOs themselves “are in the best position to ensure the accuracy of their plan provider directories.” It also said it was encouraged by pilot programs aimed at developing a centralized repository for provider data that would be accessible to multiple stakeholders. In the near term, CMS added, MAOs should perform their own audits of their directory data and develop better internal processes for members to report errors.

This article made possible by generous support from the Retirement Research Foundation.

In An Effort To Curb Drug Costs, States Advance Bills To Prod Feds On Importation Norm Thurston is a “freemarket guy” — a conservative health economist in Republicanrun Utah who rarely sees the government’s involvement in anything as beneficial. But in a twist, the state lawmaker is now pushing for Utah to flex its muscle to spur federal action on ever-climbing prescription drug prices. “This is something that a red state like Utah could do. I don’t think this is a partisan issue,” Thurston said. “Those outrageous cost increases are not the result of the free market.”

The approach: Let the state contract with wholesalers in Canada, importing cheaper prescriptions from up north and distributing them to the state’s health care system. Other states — Vermont, West Virginia and Oklahoma, among them — are following similar paths, pushing legislation that would seek permission from the Trump administration to launch their own plans to import drugs from Canada. For years, American consumers have tried to buy cheaper drugs from their

northern neighbor, sometimes packing into buses for day trips to Canadian pharmacies, or patronizing American stores that help them order drugs from abroad. But the practice is illegal. The states want to change that, and set up a formal process that nets broader savings. The idea is for the state health department to set up a wholesale program that buys drugs from Canada and resells them to local pharmacies and hospitals. Individual states would be responsible for ensuring that the medications are

safe and that importing them does save money. “This statute is putting pressure on the federal government to take a harder look at these questions,” said Rachel Sachs, an associate law professor at Washington University of St. Louis, who researches drug price regulations. “The state legislatures can say, ‘Look, we’re doing everything we can, but we do need the federal government to help us out on this.’”...Read More

FDA Head Vows To Tackle High Drug Prices And Drugmakers ‘Gaming The System’ Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said he will do everything “within my lane” to combat high drug prices and that he sees drug companies “gaming the system to try to block competition” in a multitude of ways in the marketplace.

In a wide-ranging interview with Kaiser Health News on Thursday, Gottlieb also said that he wants to speed up the U.S. approval process for generic and “biosimilar” versions of biologic drugs, which are drugs comprised of living organisms, such as plant or animal cells. “Where we see things that we can address, we’re going to take

action,” Gottlieb said, adding that he is most bothered when brand-name companies use tactics to block makers of generics and biosimilars from developing drugs. He deflected questions about whether the FDA approves drugs of questionable value that carry exorbitant prices. “I think we should have a free

market for how products are priced,” Gottlieb said. A free market “provides proper incentives for entrepreneurs who are going to make the big investments needed to innovate. But that system is predicated on a premise that when patents have lapsed you’ll have vigorous competition from generic drugs.”...Read More

Rhode Island Alliance for Retired Americans, Inc. • 94 Cleveland Street • North Providence, RI • 02904-3525 • 401-480-8381 •

New and Proposed Changes to Medicare Part D important to people with Medicare and their families, including changes to Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage that will close the donut hole in 2019. Late last week, Congress Just days later, on February passed and the President signed 12, the White House released a sweeping spending bill that President Trump’s fiscal year will fund the government (FY) 2019 budget request to through March 23 and raise the Congress, which also spending caps imposed by the includes several Budget Control Act of 2011 for proposals related to Medicare, two years, paving the way for a including changes to Part D drug longer-term spending agreement. coverage and Part B drug The legislation – the Bipartisan reimbursement. Budget Act of 2018 (BBA of The BBA of 2018 also 2018) – also contains a number addressed critical “extenders” – of health care provisions creating permanent fixes for the

therapy cap and extending for two years funding for critical Medicare outreach and assistance activities. But the bill also included increases in premiums for some higherincome beneficiaries, further means testing the program. Both the legislation and the budget request allow for more flexibility for private Medicare Advantage plans and target Medicare Part D for a number of changes. A new brief from the Kaiser Family Foundations focuses on the Part D related changes and their potential impact – including, in the President’s request, the imposition of an out-

of-pocket cap on Part D, changes to how the donut hole is calculated that will increase the amount of time people spend in it, and allowing the administration to shift medications from Part B to Part D. The Medicare Rights Center is analyzing the BBA of 2018 and the President’s FY19 budget request and will provide additional updates when they are available.

Trump Suggests USPS Cut Retirement, Health Benefits in $80B Savings Package The White House suggested USPS bring its retirement benefits in line with the same changes proposed for the rest of the federal workforce, which would save the agency $35 billion over the next decade. Under Trump’s plan, the postal service also would increase employees’ contributions toward their health and life insurance. Similar to reform legislation

in Congress, Trump suggested USPS increase collaboration with state and local governments, reduce to-the-door mail delivery “where appropriate,” change its governance structure and create postal-specific assumptions about the demographics of the USPS workforce to prevent possible overpayment into the agency’s Federal Employees

Retirement System account. The proposal said the Postal Service should institute a one-time price hike and have more flexibility in setting its rates, something postal management has also advocated. The operational changes to the Postal Service would improve the agency’s financial position $45 billion over 10 years, according to the budget, while

the benefits changes would reduce costs by an additional $35 billion. The total unified budget impact would be just $44 billion over the next decade….Read More Postal News

Union workers want Disney to pay their $1,000 tax cut bonuses contracts." But the union members at Disney World are in the midst of contract negotiations. They say rank-and-file workers in December voted 93% against Disney's most recent offer of a 50-cent-an-hour raise over the Unions representing about next two years, coupled with a 35,000 Disney World workers $200 signing bonus. Most say Disney is refusing to pay unionized Disney World their members $1,000 tax cut employees make less than $11 bonuses. an hour, according to the union. Disneyannounced the $1,000 Only 3,000 make more than bonuses last month for 125,000 $15 an hour. The union says the U.S. employees.The company average hourly wage for its said at that time that the bonuses members is $10.71. would go to full and part-time Eric Clinton, president of the employees, including those Unite Here local at the theme represented by unions "currently park, said Disney is forcing the working under existing union union to accept that same

rejected offer for its members to receive the $1,000 bonus due to other Disney employees. "In other words Disney said you can have $1,000 if you agree to stay poor," he said in a video statement posted on the union's Facebook page. "Disney is discriminating against us for having a union locked in negotiations. Let us be clear, Disney cast members deserve a living wage. We will not allow a $1,000 trick of a bonus to be held over our heads." He said the union has filed an unfair labor practice complaint alleging that the demand amounts to punishing members for engaging in legally protected contract negotiations.

Disney was not immediately available for comment on the union's statement, but a spokesperson told the Orlando Sentinel, "Wages and bonuses are part of our negotiation process. We will continue to meet with the union to move toward a ratified agreement." Several union members appeared in the same video denouncing the demand from Disney. "This company seems to think they can trick us into taking this $1,000," said union member R.J. Green. "This bonus is a short-term solution to long-term problems. There is no reason we should not be able to provide for our families."

Rhode Island Alliance for Retired Americans, Inc. • 94 Cleveland Street • North Providence, RI • 02904-3525 • 401-480-8381 •

RI ARA HealthLink Wellness News


Blocking enzyme 'dramatically reverses' Alzheimer's in mice Recent research reveals that targeting an enzyme called BACE1 can In Alzheimer's, "completely beta-amyloid plaques build on reverse" the and around buildup of betaneurons. But new research suggests amyloid plaque in that such damage the brain, which is may be completely a hallmark of reversible. Alzheimer's disease. For now, the findings are limited to mice, but they provide hope that humans may one day benefit from the same treatment. The study was carried out by scientists from the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute

in Ohio. The researchers were led by Riqiang Yan, of the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine in Farmington. As Yan and colleagues explain in their paper, the enzyme in question helps to produce betaamyloid peptide. An excessive accumulation of this peptide eventually leads to the Alzheimer's-related brain pathologies known as betaamyloid plaques. BACE1 does this by "cleaving," or breaking down, a protein called amyloid precursor protein. But BACE1 also cleaves

other proteins, thus regulating important processes in the brain. Therefore, inhibiting it may cause some impairments as a side effect. In fact, a range of studies referenced by the authors have sho wn that knocking out the BACE1 gene in mice leads to defects in the development of the neurons' axons, causing insufficient myelination — or the forming of the protective sheath around neurons — and even depression. So, in the new study, the researchers wanted to reduce BACE1 more gently and gradually, in the hope that this would yield better results with

fewer side effects. They genetically designed mice that would lose this enzyme bit by bit, as they aged. The results of this laboratory experiment have now been published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine. Alzheimer's could be 'completely reversed' The mice went on to develop perfectly normally into adulthood. The scientists then proceeded to breed them with other rodents that had Alzheimer's-like symptoms, such as a buildup of amyloid plaque in the brain….Read More

Your Attitude About Aging Might Affect Odds for Dementia If you hope to avoid dementia in old age, having an upbeat view on aging itself might help, new research suggests. Researchers found that people with positive beliefs about aging had a nearly 44 percent lower risk of developing dementia over the next four years than those with a dimmer outlook. The protective link was seen even among people who carried a gene variant called APOE4, which raises the risk for dementia.

However, the findings do not prove that negative attitudes about aging lead to mental decline. Rather, the study shows only an association between people's beliefs and their dementia risk, said Keith Fargo, director of scientific programs and outreach for the Alzheimer's Association. Those beliefs also could reflect other things. For instance, Fargo said, it's possible that some people with a negative outlook were in the earliest

stages of dementia -- before it could be recognized. "It's easy to see how someone in the early stages of dementia could be feeling bad about aging," said Fargo, who wasn't involved with the study. Having a positive attitude, though, certainly could have an effect on your health, he said. Still, it's hard to tease out any effects of beliefs about aging from other aspects of a person's mindset and behavior, Fargo said.

Studies do suggest that a number of lifestyle factors can help lower dementia risk, he said. Those include maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly and staying socially active and mentally engaged -- reading or learning new skills, for instance. "We do think it's important for people to stay socially engaged, to be active, to have hobbies," Fargo said….Read More

How does exercise preserve the aging brain? Further evidence that doing aerobic exercise can preserve brain health and function — and thereby reduce the risk of dementia — is revealed in a study of older individuals with slight but noticeable declines in memory and thinking. The researchers — from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in

Dallas — think that their study is the first to use an objective measure of aerobic capacity to assess the relationship between white matter integrity, cognitive performance, and cardiorespiratory fitness in older individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). "This research," explains first study author Kan Ding, an assistant professor of neurology and neurotherapeutics, "supports

the hypothesis that improving people's fitness may improve their brain health and slow down the aging process." She and her team report their findings in a paper that was published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. People with MCI have noticeable problems with memory and reasoning, but they are not serious enough to interfere with daily living or the ability to take care of oneself.

Research suggests that "15–20 percent of those aged 65 and older may have MCI." Study measured VO2max to assess fitness The causes of MCI are not yet fully understood, although experts suggest that in some cases it may result from brain changes that occur in the very early stages of Alzheimer's disease or other types of dementia….Read More

Rhode Island Alliance for Retired Americans, Inc. • 94 Cleveland Street • North Providence, RI • 02904-3525 • 401-480-8381 •

Human Rights Watch Finds Nursing Homes Overmedicate Dementia Patients A new report found that nursing homes unnecessarily give antipsychotic drugs to more than 179,000 residents per week. Nursing homes in the U.S. are administering antipsychotic drugs to tens of thousands of elderly residents each week who do not have the diagnoses for which the drugs are prescribed and who are not giving their "free and informed consent," according to a new Human Rights Watch report.In a report

released Monday titled, "They Want Docile," the group states that some 179,000 residents of long-term nursing homes across the country are given antipsychotic drugs each week that are not appropriate for their condition. The report says the drugs are used for their sedating side effects, which make patients with dementia and Alzheimer's disease easier to manage. "People with dementia are often sedated to make life easier for overworked nursing home staff, and the government does

little to protect vulnerable residents from such abuse," Hannah Flamm, a New York University law school fellow at Human Rights Watch told The Guardian. Antipsychotic drugs, developed to treat psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia, come with significant warnings from the Food and Drug Administration called "black box" warnings, The Guardian reported, because they call attention to the potential risk of death. But often the severity of those warnings

and the heightened risk the drugs pose to dementia patients is not communicated to the patients or their loved ones, the report suggested. Kelly Bagby, attorney for the AARP Foundation, which has engaged in several court cases challenging nursing home medication practices, told Fox News that, "given the dire consequences" of antipsychotics, the number of elderly people with dementia taking the drugs "should be zero."...Read More

Osteoarthritis: Could researchers have found the key to prevention? A new study may have revealed a possible new prevention and treatment strategy for osteoarthritis, which is one of the most common and debilitating age-related diseases in the United States. Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in San Diego, CA, reveal that proteins called FoxO are key for joint health. By boosting the levels of these FoxO proteins, they believe that it might be possible to treat osteoarthritis, or even stop the disease from developing. Senior study author Dr. Martin Lotz — from the Department of Molecular

Medicine at TSRI — and his team recently reported their results in the journal Science Translational Medicine. Osteoarthritis, also referred to as degenerative joint disease, is estimated to affect more than 30 million adults in the United States, making it the most common type of arthritis. The condition is characterized by a breakdown of cartilage, which is the tissue that cushions the joints of the bones. Osteoarthritis most commonly affects the knee, hip, and hand joints. In a previous study, Dr . Lotz and team found that FoxO levels in joint cartilage are reduced.

For this latest study, the researchers sought to find out more about how FoxO proteins affect joint health. The effects of FoxO deficiency in mice The researchers reached their findings by studying mice that were lacking FoxO proteins in their joint cartilage. Compared with control mice, the scientists found that FoxO-deficient mice experienced degeneration of the joints at a significantly younger age. What is more, the rodents with FoxO deficiency showed greater susceptibility to cartilage damagedur ing a treadmill test, and they were also more likely to develop post-

traumatic osteoarthritis due to knee injury. Upon further investigation, the scientists found that the FoxO-deficient mice showed abnormalities in a process called autophagy, which is a natural process by which cells get rid of any unwanted or damaged components in order to maintain their health and carry out any repairs. FoxO deficiency also led to abnormalities in the processes that protect our cells against damage caused by free radicals….Read More

Even light exercise can increase men's lifespan A new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicinefinds that even a few minutes of lowintensity physical activity may significantly reduce mortality risk among senior men. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that adults aged 65 and over engage in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity

aerobic physical activity every week. This should be in bouts of at least 10 minutes, they say. Aerobic activity refers to any kind of exercise that improves the heart and the lungs. Some examples include brisk walking, running, swimming, and cycling. In addition to the 150 minutes, the CDC also advise seniors to engage in muscle-strengthening activities on at least 2 days per

week. If moderate activity takes up too much time, these recommendations can be tweaked into vigorous-intensity equivalents, as detailed on the CDC website. As the scientists mention in their new study, r esear ch has shown that people who regularly engage in moderate-level physical activity have a 20–30 percent lower risk of premature mortality compared with

inactive adults, and the benefits seem to be greater as people age. But such an amount of physical activity can be difficult to integrate, so researchers led by Dr. Barbara Jefferis, of the Department of Primary Care and Population Health at University College London in the United Kingdom, set out to examine whether even lower levels of exercise intensity affected the mortality risk in seniors….Read More

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RI ARA February 25, 2018 E-Newsletter


RI ARA February 25, 2018 E-Newsletter