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Thursday, June 13, 2024

What’s New to Treat Macular Degeneration



Seniors with age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, may benefit from two drugs approved this year and promising treatments in development.


Around 20 million Americans suffer from macular degeneration, and about 1.5 million of those have an advanced stage of the eye disease. Most macular degeneration occurs as people grow older. Most (90%) of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the dry, or early, form. Yellow-white fatty deposits, called drusen, collect on the eye’s macula, at the center of the retina. Wet AMD is an advanced form responsible for only 10% of cases but 90% of blindness. It is characterized by the rapid growth of new blood vessels at the back of the eye that leak fluid into the macula. 

“Vision loss can have a major impact on the quality of life for older adults. Difficulties an older adult might experience are a loss of independence and no longer being able to drive or go places without assistance. This increases the risk of social isolation and loneliness,” says Rebecca Boxer, chief of the UC Davis Health Division of Geriatrics, Hospice and Palliative Medicine. “Additionally, loss of vision increases the risk of falls and injury.”

Who’s More at Risk of AMD? 

  • People exposed to a lot of sunlight, such as fishermen and agricultural workers, but also dentists and welders who use blue light technology.
  • Smokers, including people exposed to second-hand smoke.
  • People with hypertension.
  • Obese people.
  • People with a family history of macular degeneration or a genetic predisposition.
  • Caucasians are more likely to get AMD than Blacks or Asians.
  • Women get AMD more often than men.
  • Older adults. You are more likely to get AMD the older you are.
You may not realize you have AMD in its early form. If only one eye has dry AMD, there may be no change in vision. That’s why it’s so important to get an annual dilated eye exam. When and if dry AMD progresses to wet AMD, you’ll notice sudden blurred vision, blind spots in the middle of your visual field, trouble distinguishing colors, difficulty seeing in low light and edges and lines will appear wavy. 

Standard Treatment for AMD

Dry AMD in its early and intermediate forms can sometimes be slowed by taking a combination of antioxidant vitamins known as AREDS 2.

Wet AMD is usually treated with periodic eye injections. One, Avastin, inhibits the growth of blood vessels. Several others work to bind and inhibit excess protein produced in the retinas of some people with AMD. These drugs stabilize or improve vision in the majority of patients, but the injections must be given every four to 12 weeks, a difficult ask for many older adults who may have other conditions to manage and/or difficulty accessing transportation to a doctor’s office. 

A newer drug, brand-named Vabysmo, targets two proteins instead of just one. It is also given via eye injection, but it lasts longer than other treatments. Patients typically go from three to four months between shots. A similar option that’s in phase III (final phase) clinical trials is Opthea’s OPT-302. The drug has been dubbed Sozinibercept and should be on the market soon.

Finally, certain people with wet AMD can be treated with laser photocoagulation. It may be an option if your abnormal blood vessels are in a tight bunch, ideally away from the central area of the macula. Usually, the best candidates had vision loss that occurred suddenly, not slowly. In the surgery, an intense light beam is used to burn tiny areas of the macula to seal off leaky vessels. It doesn’t always restore vision, but it can delay further loss of sight.

Two New Treatments for Late Stage Dry AMD

The third and final stage of dry AMD is called the late stage, or geographic atrophy, when the macula degenerates. Until recently, there was no treatment for those living with this stage of the disease. In February of this year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first medication, called Syfovre, to treat geographic atrophy. Created by Apellis Pharmaceuticals, the active ingredient in Syfovre is Pegcetacoplan. The drug is injected in the eye, usually on a monthly plan. Research indicates that it works best when taken over time, slowing the disease and retarding the degeneration of the retina. 

In August, Izervay (avacincaptad pegol) became the second drug to be cleared by the FDA for late stage dry AMD. The drug works by blocking the complement C5 protein, reducing the rate of breakdown in retinal cells. Clinical trials by drugmaker Astrellis indicate treatments with Izervay began to show results within six months and displayed up to a 35% reduction in the progression of geographic atrophy at the one year mark. Izervay is delivered by injection directly into the eye.

On the Horizon

People with wet AMD may soon benefit from ongoing experimental gene therapy. RGX-314 is a treatment that targets the unwanted protein, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). The treatment is delivered via the injection, under the retina, of a virus that carries the anti-VEGF gene. It’s in phase III clinical trials. The truly exciting thing about this treatment is that it has the potential to keep working for years following the initial surgical procedure. 

Cell therapy involves the injection of cells into your body to replace damaged, depleted or missing cells. Stem cells are able to grow or change into any type of cell. They’re already used to treat many diseases, including retinal disorders. Typically, a certain type of stem cell is harvested from the patient, then instructed to become the desired cell type or precursor. It’s then injected into the eye to replace or generate damaged cells. 

An induced pluripotent stem cell is one that is also taken from the patient, then reverted into an embryonic stem cell that can become any sort of cell in the body. Stem cells that come from the patient originally are less likely to be rejected. 

Clinical trials for cell therapy to treat geographic atrophy are ongoing in the US and other countries. A current trial to treat late stage dry AMD involves OpRegen. It’s testing the safety of and tolerance for embryonic stem cell-derived retinal pigment epithelium cells. So far, results are promising.

AMD strikes many older adults and takes a high toll. Today, advances in treatment are beginning to fight back and offer seniors more options to stop this disease in its tracks. There’s hope that in five to ten years, we’ll be able to reverse the effects of at least some types of AMD. 





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Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors



Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Embracing the Outdoors: Summer Activities for Older Adults

As the days grow longer and the sun shines brighter, summer offers a wonderful opportunity for older adults to step outside and engage in a variety of outdoor activities. Staying active and connected with nature not only enhances physical health but also boosts mental well-being. Here are some enjoyable and accessible activities for older adults to make the most of this sunny season.

1. Walking and Hiking

Walking is one of the simplest and most effective forms of exercise. Local parks, nature reserves, and scenic trails provide a perfect setting for leisurely strolls or more challenging hikes, depending on one's fitness level. Walking with friends or joining a walking group can add a social element, making the experience even more enjoyable. The National Library of Medicine suggests that walking briskly for 30 minutes per day for 5 days can reduce the risk of several age-associated diseases.  



Tips:

  • Wear comfortable shoes and lightweight clothing.
  • Use walking sticks or a cane if needed for stability.
  • Stay hydrated and take breaks as necessary.

2. Gardening

Gardening is a therapeutic activity that allows older adults to connect with nature while staying active. Whether tending to flowers, vegetables, or herbs, the physical activity involved in planting, weeding, and watering can be quite rewarding. Gardening also offers a sense of accomplishment and can improve mood and cognitive function.

Tips:

  • Use raised beds or container gardens to reduce the need for bending and kneeling.
  • Incorporate ergonomic tools designed to ease strain on the body.
  • Garden in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid peak sun hours.

3. Picnicking

A picnic is a delightful way to enjoy the great outdoors while savoring good food and company. Local parks, beaches, and lakesides provide ideal spots for a leisurely meal surrounded by nature. Bringing along a blanket, some healthy snacks, and a good book can make for a relaxing day out.

Tips:

  • Choose a shaded spot to stay cool.
  • Pack a variety of nutritious foods and plenty of water.
  • Bring a folding chair or cushion for added comfort.

4. Bird Watching

Bird watching is a peaceful activity that encourages mindfulness and observation. With a pair of binoculars and a bird guidebook, older adults can spend hours enjoying the sights and sounds of various bird species. This activity can be done alone or with a group, providing both solitude and social interaction.



Tips:

  • Visit local wildlife refuges or parks known for diverse bird populations.
  • Bring a notebook to jot down sightings and observations.
  • Wear neutral-colored clothing to blend into the environment.

5. Fishing

Fishing offers a relaxing way to spend time outdoors and can be a great social activity when done with friends or family. Whether fishing from a dock, a boat, or the shoreline, the experience can be both peaceful and exhilarating when a catch is made.

Tips:

  • Ensure you have the appropriate fishing license and gear.
  • Choose a spot with easy access and comfortable seating.
  • Be patient and enjoy the serenity of the surroundings.

6. Tai Chi and Yoga

Practicing tai chi or yoga in the park combines physical activity with the calming effects of nature. These low-impact exercises improve balance, flexibility, and mental clarity, making them ideal for older adults. Many communities offer outdoor classes during the summer months.

Tips:

  • Bring a yoga mat or towel for comfort.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
  • Practice in a shaded area to stay cool.

7. Outdoor Arts and Crafts

For those with a creative streak, setting up an outdoor workspace for painting, drawing, or crafting can be immensely rewarding. The natural surroundings can serve as inspiration for artistic endeavors, and the fresh air and sunshine can enhance the creative process.

Tips:

  • Set up a portable table and comfortable chair.
  • Use sun protection like hats and sunscreen.
  • Bring along all necessary supplies and stay hydrated.

8. Cycling

Cycling is a fun way to explore local areas while getting some exercise. Many places have dedicated bike paths or quiet roads suitable for leisurely rides. Electric bikes can also be a good option for those who want to cycle with less effort.



Tips:

  • Wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear.
  • Choose flat, smooth paths to make riding easier.
  • Start with short rides and gradually increase the distance.

Conclusion

Summer is a season of exploration, offering countless opportunities for older adults to engage in outdoor activities. Whether through physical exercise, creative pursuits, or simply enjoying the natural beauty around them, staying active and connected with nature can greatly enhance overall well-being. So, grab a hat, put on some sunscreen, and step outside to make the most of this vibrant season!

Is an Amazon Prime Subscription Worth the Cost?



Amazon Prime membership just keeps going up, along with the price. But is it worth the cost?  


Amazon Prime seems to many like an affordable luxury. For $139 annually, you get free two-day shipping, music streaming, video and more. But just a couple of months ago, Amazon slipped ads into Prime Video and wanted a $2.99 monthly payment to take them back out. 

Adjusting for inflation, Amazon Prime’s $79 cost in 2005 ought to be $127 now – but we just keep paying more. Of course, the bundle is different now. When it was launched, Prime amounted to a free shipping service. Nowadays you get access to 100 million songs in the Prime Music catalog, although you can only shuffle them. If you want on-demand, that’ll be another $9.99 a month. 

Another benefit shoppers love is access to Prime Day deals before everyone else. You can score major deals on high-ticket items without worrying that they’ll all be sold before you can log in. The only downside here is for people with limited self control. After all, a deal is only a deal if it’s something you really want or need. 

Apps that review and eliminate subscriptions

You sign up for an app, then gradually forget to use it. We’ve all done it multiple times. The problem is that those little monthly costs add up, and pretty soon you’re paying $200 a month for … nothing. Why not get rid of those excess subscriptions using an app that will find them all for you? Here are three that will search for your subscriptions and bring them to your attention so you can decide what action you’d like to take, if any:
Want even more deals? You can request an invite to special Prime members-only deals.  You’ll then get notified about special sales that most Amazon shoppers know nothing about! 

Benefits Come with Cost

Another Prime benefit is unlimited photo storage. Awesome! But it doesn’t include unlimited video storage. If you accumulate more than 5 gigabytes of video files, you’ll need a storage plan ($23.88 a year for 100GB). 

Amazon began charging $9.95 for Whole Foods delivery to Prime customers in 2021, and in 2023 raised the minimum spend for free Amazon Fresh delivery to $150 from $35. When customers balked, they lowered the minimum to $100. Prime subscribers still get 10% off on certain deals at Whole Foods, but no one would call it a discount grocery store to begin with. 

“Prime has always delivered disproportionate value to its members and will always do so. We improve the membership each year with more selection, value and convenience,” said an Amazon spokesman. “Members recognize the appeal of Prime’s shopping, savings and entertainment benefits, and we continue to see strong benefit engagement and high renewal rates.”

How to Make Prime Worth More

You might qualify for a discount on your membership and not even know it. Eligible recipients of government assistance including Medicaid and SNAP can get Prime for only $6.99 monthly. Your grandchildren aged 18 to 24 may qualify for a student discount. It comes with a 6-month free trial and $7.49 per month fee after that.

Single seniors can essentially get Prime for half price by adding another adult to Amazon Household.  The person needn’t be related or live with you, as long as you’re okay sharing payment methods. Your logins and purchase histories will remain private while you both can access all the benefits of Prime. This deal is great for roommates or friends and cuts your expense to under $70 per year. 

Prime Visa

Another trick is to get a Prime Visa card along with your Prime membership. It entitles you to 5% off Amazon.com purchases (only 3% if you don’t have Prime), 5% back on Chase travel, and at Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh, both in store and online. The card comes with no annual membership fee. 

How much do you have to spend to make Prime work for you? If the only benefit you’re getting from Prime comes from discounts via the associated Visa, you would need to spend $7,000 annually at Amazon.com on the Prime Visa (receiving an extra 2% per purchase over what non-Prime members get) to pay for your $139 membership. 

Overall: Keep or Kick?

The amount of value your Prime membership gives you is unique to your own situation. How much do you save on music streaming? Do you watch Prime Video? What’s it worth to be able to beat the crowds on Prime Day sales? Can you split your membership with someone else? Does your Prime Visa make up the difference? 

If history serves, Prime membership cost will rise to $159 next year. Knowing that, it’s a great time now to list all the Prime services you use and how much value they bring to your life.





This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional financial advice from a qualified financial advisor.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

When Your Parent is a Hoarder



What to do (and what not to do) if you have a parent whose house is filled to the brim.


Hoarders buy and keep things that they don’t use, and often form strong attachments to those things, even if they are useless to most people. In extreme cases, rodents may enter the home and take up residence. The hoarding may extend outside to surrounding property and include autos that quit running long ago, rotting lumber and other materials. 

Some people hoard animals, often acquiring dozens or even hundreds and ending up with a house and/or yard full of neglected animals, urine and feces. Hoarding makes quality of life worse, not better, yet the hoarder usually cannot understand that and insists on keeping everything. An adult child will struggle to understand why this is happening and what to do about it.

"It's a problem that's coming out of the woodwork, especially with the older adult population," says social worker Susan Hoskins, executive director of the Princeton Senior Resource Center and its hoarding task force. "As a therapist I have found very few things that are as difficult to treat … and so hard for people to give up." Hoskins says she often gets desperate calls from grown children of hoarders asking, "What am I going to do about this?"

Who has Hoarding Disorder?

If you have a relative with hoarding disorder, you are far from alone. Nearly 6% of the population hoards. Hoarding is a mental illness linked to depression. About 15% of older adults who have depression are extreme hoarders. The Mayo Clinic writes that symptoms of hoarding disorder might include the following:

  • Getting and keeping things you don’t currently have a need or space for.
  • Continuous difficulty parting with things, regardless of their value.
  • Feeling the need to hold onto items and being upset when you think about getting rid of them.
  • Building clutter until you can no longer use rooms.
  • Being a perfectionist and avoiding or delaying decisions.
  • Problems around planning and organizing.

Hoarding disorder is different from collecting. Collectors hunt for specific items to put in organized displays. They don’t cause distress or problems functioning in daily life. Hoarding disorder is characterized by disorganized piles of things such as clothes, paperwork or books that crowd living areas, spilling onto countertops and tables. It may become impossible to cook in the kitchen, while tiny pathways serve to navigate the home. People with hoarding disorder may avoid social activities and have trouble with nutrition, hygiene and medication. 

What Brings on Hoarding Disorder?

We know that hoarding may be a side effect of depression or anxiety. Scientists have discovered that many hoarders grew up with a parent who hoarded. Seniors may hoard to feel in control when physical and mental facilities are failing them. Hoarding disorder can be triggered by the loss of a loved one. It can also be linked to dementia. Researchers believe that a mix of environmental and genetic factors contribute to hoarding disorder.

Symptoms of hoarding disorder may begin in a person’s teenage years. They may get and save more things than they have space for. As time progresses, living areas become more cluttered. By middle age, symptoms may become more embedded and the clutter can become heaps and mounds of items that will never be needed or used. 

Dangers of Hoarding Disorder

Hoarding can lead to unsafe conditions, especially for senior adults. Stacks of old papers are quick to burn, but the fire department may not be able to get in the house or even find the occupant. The same holds true if the hoarder has a heart attack; emergency personnel will struggle to reach them and provide life saving care. Cluttered floors present tripping hazards, and mold or feces create unsafe living conditions. 

How to Help

If you have a loved one with hoarding disorder, helping to break the hoarding cycle will take time and plenty of patience. Cleaning up the home without their consent will likely cause the hoarder to become angry and distressed, and it does nothing to break the cycle of excess accumulation. Admonishing someone who hoards will result in a loss of trust, and trust is needed for the hoarder to feel in control. 

Denying the problem and resisting change are common, says social worker Henriette Kellum, who adds, "To them, you're the problem." 

Remember that hoarding is a mental health issue, not a choice. Professional senior move managers may be able to come in and help guide an older adult who is hoarding. A last choice is to simply come in and get rid of possessions, but this may be necessary on a limited basis to ensure safety from falls. 

Treating hoarding disorder can be a long process. First, check with the older adult’s doctor to make sure dementia isn’t the cause. Have the senior evaluated for depression and anxiety. Treatment may include:

  • Anti-anxiety and antidepressant medication
  • Group therapy with family support
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy and skills training

Set small, achievable goals, such as cleaning the top of a bookshelf. Clearly and often tell your parent that you respect their decisions. Be willing to go slowly. Celebrate small victories, like removing a single bag of clutter.

When You Must Clean Up a Hoarded Home

If you must get a hoarded home cleaned out, one option is to hire a professional organizer. Most of these will separate items into three piles: donate, throw away and keep. Clarify how much can be kept, such as 5%. If there are valuables, you may want to check if your organizer can add a pile for those and knows someone who will sell them online. 

Check to see if there’s someone who specializes in senior hoarding in your area by googling “professional senior hoarder clean out” or similar. If the home is really trashed and nasty, you may need to opt for a service such as crime scene cleaners that will pull everything out and disinfect what is left. 

If you’re dealing with a parent who has hoarding disorder, don’t despair. If possible, get counseling yourself on how to deal with this unwelcome situation. Check out Children of Hoarders organization.  You are far from alone. 




Saturday, June 8, 2024

Best Earbuds and Headphones for Seniors



Check out some favorite picks for all kinds of wireless headphones, including ones that can easily be worn with hearing aids.


Older adults need to stay connected in a wireless world, whether it’s to listen to podcasts, watch TV while a spouse sleeps or drown out noise on your next flight. But it can be frustrating when ear buds break or the headphones you just purchased only stay charged for half the time promised. 

Avoid those pitfalls by buying the best the first time. Senior Spirit has scoured the internet to bring you some top options that won’t empty your wallet. 

Best TV Headphones

Maybe you have reduced hearing, but it drives your spouse crazy when you want to turn the TV volume way up. Or you like to wake up early and catch the news while your spouse sleeps in. Either way, the problem is solved with a pair of wireless TV headphones that allow you to watch your favorite shows while it stays quiet around you. 

Bluetooth headphones may fill the bill, and it’s likely you already own a pair. But if you’re looking for a dedicated system with headphones and a wireless transmitter, try the Insignia NS-HAWHP2. They are super comfy, with good sound that doesn’t lag behind the video as can happen in cheaper options. Even better, the transmitter also serves as a charging base, and the charge will last about 10 or 11 hours. They’re $120 at Best Buy.

Best Wireless Earbuds 

Top quality earbuds use true wireless stereo (TWS) for superior sound over Bluetooth systems. The best of the lot is Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation). Sound has been improved with the new H2 chip that supports Bluetooth 5.3 protocol for minimal sound transmission delay. Seniors will appreciate that changing the volume is now accomplished by just running your hand up or down the earpiece. 

The noise cancellation quality is also exceptional if you prefer to block out external sounds. In fact, the buds will automatically turn on noise reduction if a sharp sound could harm the user. If you’re an Apple user, the earbuds will stop playing when you take them off and resume when you put them on again, without you having to do a thing. Currently $200 at Walmart or $250 at Apple.

Best Noise-Canceling Headphones

If you’re a frequent traveler and/or commuter, you value being able to hear music, sportscasts and more without struggling to listen over the noise around you. Try the Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones 700  over-the-ear style for superior quality. At about $379, they’re an investment, but they’re lightweight and comfortable. 

Looking for a budget alternative? Try the Soundcore by Anker Space One True Wireless Noise Canceling Over-the-Ear Headphones on Amazon for about $80. You’ll still get decent sound and noise reduction, at a fraction of the price. 

Best Bone Conduction Headphones

There are times you don’t want to block out surrounding noises while you’re listening to music or a podcast. When you’re taking a walk, for example, it’s a lot safer if you can hear a siren or someone coming up behind you. That’s when bone conduction headphones come in handy. They are not worn in the ear, but in front of it, vibrating against your bones to send sound straight to the inner ear. 

That may sound strange and uncomfortable, but they work very well for most people. The device is a lightweight band that runs behind your head and over your ears. Just like over-ear headphones, bone conduction units work well with all types of hearing aids:

  • In-the-ear (ITE)
  • In-the-canal (ITC)
  • Completely-in-canal (CIC)
  • Invisible-in-the-canal (IIC)

An added benefit is that bone conduction headphones won’t cost you an arm and a leg (maybe just an arm). One of the best on the market, Shokz OpenRun Pro are $180 on Amazon. They feature great sound quality, fantastic fit and are super lightweight. 

Best Waterproof Headphones

Swimming is a great exercise for older adults, and we might all do more of it if we could listen to an audiobook or our favorite band while doing laps. The Zygo Z2 features premium bone conduction technology that streams music and podcasts from your phone at poolside. It uses an FM radio transmitter to avoid the problem Bluetooth has penetrating water.

You can pair it with the Zygo mobile app to get coaching tips and track your progress in the pool.






Sources:


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors



Friday, June 7, 2024

How to Find and Participate in Health Studies



Thousands of clinical trials are taking place at any time. They may give you access to a new drug or process that could help you or others, and/or provide payment while you help advance medical knowledge.


Clinical research studies depend on people to participate so doctors and researchers can learn about disease in order to provide improved health care in the future. They may be studying how to improve health care delivery, or better understand how behavior impacts health and disease. Clinical research also includes trials, where scientists look at how an intervention affects health outcomes.

Senior participants are underrepresented in clinical trials, according to the Alliance for Aging Research. For example, only 25% of cancer trial enrollees are 65 and over, even though more than half of all cancers are found in that age range. Furthermore, more than a third of trials don’t find enough participants to advance, and 11% fail to enroll a single volunteer. 

What Are Clinical Trials?

Clinical trials are at the center of medical advances. They may be studying new drugs or combinations of drugs, or novel ways to use current treatments. Trials also take place for new medical devices and new ways to perform surgery. They may also study how changing behaviors affects outcomes. 

Virtual Clinical Trials

You don’t have to travel in order to participate in a clinical trial. Also known as remote trials or online clinical trials, virtual trials virtualclinicaltrials.com take advantage of technology to allow researchers to use smartphone apps and video conferencing to recruit from a larger pool of participants without geographic restrictions. It’s ideal for seniors and those with disabilities, as well as people who are in the workforce. Search the following sites for remote trials:
Both healthy people and people with different diseases can be valuable participants. The purpose of clinical trials is to establish protocols to prevent, detect or treat disease. Diseases and conditions being studied include cancer, Alzheimer's disease, allergy and infectious disease, and neurological disorders, among others.  

Clinical Trial Phases

Clinical trials take place in four successive steps that are called phases. Each phase has a different objective and helps researchers understand different aspects. According to the National Institutes of Health, the trial phases are:
  • Phase I trials: Researchers test a drug or treatment in a small group of people (20–80) for the first time. The purpose is to study the drug or treatment to learn about safety and identify side effects.
  • Phase II trials: The new drug or treatment is given to a larger group of people (100–300) to determine its effectiveness and to further study its safety.
  • Phase III trials: The new drug or treatment is given to large groups of people (1,000–3,000) to confirm its effectiveness, monitor side effects, compare it with standard or similar treatments, and collect information that will allow the new drug or treatment to be used safely.
  • Phase IV trials: After a drug is approved by the FDA and made available to the public, researchers track its safety in the general population, seeking more information about a drug or treatment’s benefits, and optimal use.

Most clinical trials in the US are approved and overseen by an Institutional Review Board that makes sure potential benefits outweigh risks, and to protect the rights and safety of participants. Each clinical trial is led by a principal investigator who has a team of researchers. They routinely monitor participant health to determine the safety and efficacy of the treatment. 

Types of Clinical Trials

There are six types of clinical trials, according to the NIH:

  • Prevention trials look for better ways to prevent a disease in people who have never had the disease or to prevent the disease from returning. Approaches may include medicines, vaccines, or lifestyle changes.
  • Screening trials test new ways for detecting diseases or health conditions.
  • Diagnostic trials study or compare tests or procedures for diagnosing a particular disease or condition.
  • Treatment trials test new treatments, new combinations of drugs, or new approaches to surgery or radiation therapy.
  • Behavioral trials evaluate or compare ways to promote behavioral changes designed to improve health.
  • Quality of life trials (or supportive care trials) explore and measure ways to improve the comfort and quality of life of people with conditions or illnesses.

Payment for Participation

Most clinical trials pay participants for related time and travel, and sometimes more. Velocity, a company that conducts research, says participants are paid from $75 to $4,500 as of May 2020. Low-paying trials may involve up to a few hours of time, such as taking a survey over the phone or investigating how well packaging instructions are understood. Other low-paying trials may collect blood or saliva, or involve a nasal swab. 

Higher paying clinical trials naturally involve more time and risk. Lower study phases fit this category, as do those investigating vaccines, medicines, devices and tests. Trials that are “inpatient”, where participants have at least one overnight stay at a clinic, will usually pay more than outpatient studies. For more information on costs and payments during clinical trials, visit The Center for Information & Study on Clinical Research Participation.

How to Find Clinical Trials

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has an online database of trials that are in process at its clinical center in Bethesda, Maryland. Trials are spread across a wide array of subjects, from rare diseases to chronic health conditions, and also include research using healthy volunteers. Search NIH trials here.  

ResearchMatch.org is a national registry of research volunteers to connect people who want to participate in research studies with researchers looking for study participants. Funded by the NIH, it’s free and secure. It includes a list of participating research institutions by state

You can also search for research trials at ClinicalTrials.gov. Prospective participants can check for studies by condition or disease, intervention or treatment and location. You can also search for a particular treatment or study, and you can set it to search only for trials that are currently recruiting or will be recruiting participants.

With so many cutting-edge advances occurring in medicine, volunteers for medical research provide an essential component to discovering the most effective treatments and protocols. 
 



Thursday, June 6, 2024

Famous & 65

Look who's turning 65 this month

Find out which celebrities are turning 65 this month!


Image Source: Wikipedia

June 7 - Mike Pence, former US vice president, state governor and congressman  

Republican Mike Pence most famously served as the 48th vice president under Donald Trump, but he was a lawyer in private practice, a radio talk show host, and US congressman before working his way up to governor of Indiana. His political career was marked by conservative policies, including tax cuts and industry incentives, while maintaining a balanced state budget. Notably, he expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Pence employed the slogan “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order” to describe himself, which he’d also used on his radio show, “The Mike Pence Show”. Pence's tenure in Congress saw him rise in the ranks, eventually becoming the Republican Conference chairman in 2009. Although none of his 90 legislative initiatives became law, he was involved in key committees, impacting agriculture, judiciary, and foreign affairs.

During his time as vice president, Pence faced significant challenges, including the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021. He confirmed the election results, upholding the democratic process, and attended the subsequent inauguration.

Post-vice presidency, Pence has engaged with conservative organizations and expressed critiques of Trump's claims about election overturning. After briefly running for president in 2024, he stepped down without endorsing any candidate. He and his wife have been married since 1985 and have three grown children.







Image Source: Wikipedia

June 11 - Hugh Laurie,  actor, author, comedian, director, musician, singer, producer

Most of us will remember Hugh Laurie primarily as the grumpy lead character on Fox’s “House”, where he became the most watched leading man on TV and pulled down $700,000 per episode by the time the series ended. A Brit, Laurie adopted an American accent for the film that was so convincing few realized he wasn’t from the States. 

Laurie revered his physician father growing up, and became a star rower at Cambridge, just like his dad. When a bout of mono interrupted his eight-hour practice sessions, he turned to the university drama club where he met and had a romantic liaison with actress Emma Thompson. They remain good friends. It was Thompson who introduced him to his future comedic partner, Stephen Fry. 

Fry and Laurie worked on several projects together in the 80s and 90s, including the ”Blackadder” series, for which Laurie played a variety of characters. Laurie also appeared in a slew of films, including the lauded “Sense and Sensibility” with his friend Thompson. Not all of his films had literary origins; for instance, you can also catch him in the 1997 Spice Girls film “Spice World”. 

Laurie also has a successful musical career, playing piano, guitar, drums, harmonica and sax as well as singing. He sings and plays keyboard for the LA charity rock group Band From TV. He has two blues albums, “Let Them Talk“ and “Didn’t It Rain”. And let’s not forget that back in ‘96 Laurie penned a top-notch thriller, “The Gun Seller”.

In spite of all his fame and wealth, Laurie has admitted to suffering from depression, for which he saw a psychotherapist. At home, Laurie has been married to Jo Green since 1989. The couple has three children and homes in England and the US.







Image Source: Wikipedia

June 27 - Janusz  Kamiński, cinematographer and director

A Polish immigrant, Janusz Kamiński arrived on US soil at the age of 21 after martial law was imposed in his home country. He didn’t waste any time, attending Columbia College in Chicago for a Bachelor of Arts before earning a Master of Fine Arts from the AFI Conservatory. His first project was shooting a music video, “Why Can’t I Dance With Phil Donahue”, for Club of Rome that became wildly successful.

After filming a number of B-movies, Kamiński got his big break when Steven Spielberg saw his made-for-TV film “Wildflower” and was so impressed that he hired Kamiński for his next project. The two began a collaboration that would see Kamiński win Best Cinematography Academy Awards for blockbusters “Schindler’s List“ and “Saving Private Ryan”. Kamiński was nominated for five other films: “Amistad”, “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”, “War Horse”, “Lincoln” and “West Side Story”.

Kamiński was married to film star Holly Hunter from 1995 until 2001, when she allegedly got pregnant from an affair with her leading man in the stage play “The Bog of Cats”, Gordon MacDonald. A few years later, Kamiński gave matrimony another try with ABC reporter Rebecca Rankin, but the two split six years later in 2010.






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