Page 3

RI ARA HealthLink Wellness News


Medical Marijuana a Hit With Seniors Seniors are giving rave reviews for medical marijuana. In a new survey, those who turned to it for treating chronic pain reported it reduced pain and decreased the need for opioid painkillers. Nine out of 10 liked it so much they said they'd recommend medical pot to others. "I was on Percocet and replaced it with medical marijuana. Thank you, thank you, thank you," said one senior. Another patient put it this way: "It [medical marijuana] is extremely effective and has allowed me to function in my work and life again. It has not completely taken away the pain, but allows me to manage it." Study co-author Dr. Diana

Martins-Welch said, "The impact of medical marijuana was overwhelmingly positive. Medical marijuana led them to taking less medications overall -- opioids and nonopioids -- and they had better function and better quality of life." Martins-Welch is a physician in the division of geriatric and palliative medicine at Northwell Health, in Great Neck, N.Y. The biggest complaint the researchers heard about medical marijuana was the cost. "It's an out-of-pocket expense. Insurance doesn't cover it because it's federally illegal," Martins-Welch explained.

As for unwelcome side effects, MartinsWelch said sedation was what she heard about the most. "A lot of people don't like feeling sleepy," she said. It's also important to work with your doctor to find the right dose, since pain experts say that too little or too much doesn't ease pain. Thirty-one states have some type of medical marijuana law on the books, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. "Every state has its own laws, like what a qualifying condition is. There are a lot of differences. And you can't take a product

from one state and cross another state line," Martins-Welch said. According to federal law, medical marijuana is still illegal in the United States. "There are legal fears. Some practitioners worry that the DEA [U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration] might come after them," she added. Medical marijuana is different than just picking up some pot and smoking it. "The goal with medical marijuana is to find the dose that gives a therapeutic benefit without a high, or slowing reaction time or causing sedation," Martins-Welch said. "To find that right dose, we start low and go slow."...Read More

How young you feel may reflect the true age of your brain You may have heard some seniors say, "I'm 80 years young," to suggest that their biological age does not reflect how they feel. New research backs them up, as brain scans demonstrate that people's "subjective age" — rather than their objective age — accurately predicts how young their brain really looks. Jeanyung Chey, of the Seoul National University in Korea, started the research by asking

herself, "Why do some people feel younger or older than their real age?" More intriguingly, could it be that how young or old they feel accurately reflects how their body ages? Potential answers to the first question "include depressive states, personality differences, or physical health," she explains. "However, no one had investigated brain aging processes as a possible reason

for differences in subjective age," adds Chey. So, she and her colleagues set out to fill this gap in research. They used MRI to detect signs of aging in the brains of 68 healthy people aged 59–84. The new findings were published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.

Studying subjective age and brain health As we get older, our bodies will go through significant changes. As for the brain, it, too, has a range of specific agerelated signs that show our mental agility may start to decline. Previous studies, for instance, have shown that a decrease in gray matter volume is associated with mental and cognitive decline….Read More

'Skinny fat' linked to cognitive decline, study warns Sarcopenia, which is the loss of muscle mass, tends to happen naturally with age. So, in older people with sarcopenia, excess body fat may not be readily visible. But hidden fat, paired with muscle mass loss later in life, could predict Alzheimer's risk, researchers warn. A recent study — the results of which have been published in the journal Clinical Interventions in Aging — has

found that sarcopenia and obesity (independently, but especially when occurring together) can heighten the risk of cognitive function impairments later in life. The research was conducted by scientists at the Comprehensive Center for Brain Health at the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine of Florida Atlantic University in Boca

Raton. "Sarcopenia," explains senior study author Dr. James Galvin, "has been linked to global cognitive impairment and dysfunction in specific cognitive skills including memory, speed, and executive functions." "Understanding the mechanisms through which this syndrome may affect cognition is important as it may inform

efforts to prevent cognitive decline in later life by targeting at-risk groups with an imbalance between lean and fat mass." Dr. James Galvin "They may benefit from programs addressing loss of cognitive function by maintaining and improving strength and preventing obesity," he adds….Read More

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

Profile for RI ARA

R ARA July 15, 2018 E-Newsletter  

R ARA July 15, 2018 E-Newsletter  

Profile for riara0