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February 13, 2013
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News for physicians caring for the seriously ill

  Top Story 
  • Studies link hearing loss to risk of cognitive decline
    Hearing loss significantly raises the risk of cognitive decline, according to research by Dr. Frank Lin and colleagues of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Their study in JAMA Internal Medicine found a "30 to 40 percent faster rate of loss of thinking and memory abilities" associated with hearing loss over six years. Lin says reasons may include social isolation, cognitive load or some type of pathological process that may be behind both conditions, which may explain why the use of hearing aids does not reduce the risk. The New York Times (tiered subscription model)/Well blog (2/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Palliative & Hospice Care Update  
  • RN sisters are recognized for end-of-life care
    Hospice of the Valley in Phoenix gave sisters Kathy Hess and Cindy Russ, who both also work as hospital nurse case managers, DAISY Awards for their end-of-life care. "They are compassionate, caring and knowledgeable," said nominator Kenlyn Boyd. (2/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Patient & Family Perspective  
  • "Night Music" author hopes to connect with caregivers
    Carol Child based her "Begins the Night Music: A Dementia Caregiver's Journal (Volume 1)," on the story of her mother, Emma, who suffered from dementia and died last year at age 97. She said she wrote the book to provide comfort and a sense of connection to caregivers and those who will be caregivers. "No matter how much help you may have, when you're in the middle of it, you are alone," she said. Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times (Smyrna, Del.) (2/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Medical Research  
  • Model shows promise in predicting development of dementia
    A biomarker model could be useful in predicting the possible progression of Alzheimer's disease among patients with mild cognitive impairment, according to a study from Italy published in Neurology. All patients with biomarkers saw their dementia symptoms progress, while only one patient in a group that lacked any of the model's biomarkers had symptom advancement during the study period. MedPage Today (free registration) (2/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Health Policy & Practice  
  • Medicare data start to show decline in hospital readmissions
    New and unpublished Medicare data show hospital readmission rates are slowly starting to decline, just months after the CMS began penalizing facilities with high rates of readmissions for heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia patients, according to Medicare deputy administrator Jonathan Blum. Older Medicare data analyzed by Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care found nonsurgical readmissions dropped from 16.2% in 2008 to 15.9% in 2010 and surgery readmissions went from 12.7% to 12.4%. St. Louis Post-Dispatch/The Associated Press (2/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Guidance for new Alzheimer's treatments unveiled by FDA
    The FDA released a nine-page draft guidance document that recommends ways to develop medicines aimed at treating Alzheimer's disease before the onset of brain damage and memory loss. "This draft guidance is intended to serve as a focus for continued discussions between the FDA and pharmaceutical sponsors, the academic community, advocacy groups, and the public," the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research's Dr. Russell Katz said. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America has identified a lack of noninvasive, validated biomarkers and the nature of the illness itself as reasons behind statistics that show only three drugs out of 101 candidates have been approved since 1998. Modern Healthcare (subscription required) (2/7), The Hill/RegWatch blog (2/7), Reuters (2/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Group releases recommendations for better post-discharge care
    The American Medical Association has released five patient safety principles for transitioning patients from inpatient to outpatient care. "[P]atients leaving the hospital too often return to ambulatory care settings that are not well connected to the hospital team and this can result in inefficient, confusing and sometimes unsafe conditions," the report's authors wrote. Evaluating patient health, setting goals, supporting self-management and managing medications were among the responsibilities outlined in the report. HealthLeaders Media (2/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Trends & Technology  
  • Developer unveils telemedicine tool for iPad
    The ControlStation App for iPad was recently unveiled by InTouch Health. The application, which works as an interface physicians can use to hold telehealth consultations with patients, can be linked to any InTouch devices, such as the RP-VITA. (2/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  AAHPM News  
  • How can you stay inspired and up to date on the latest advances in hospice and palliative care?
    Join the more than 2,400 hospice and palliative care professionals who meet once each year to gain knowledge directly from leaders in the field at the 2013 AAHPM & HPNA Annual Assembly. Learn the latest scientific advances. Share best practices. Build long-lasting relationships. Learn more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • AAHPM webinar recordings
    Learn specific strategies and cutting edge solutions to your most pressing issues, in only an hour. Topics include: Top Ten Pharmacomistakes at End of Life, Regulatory and Compliance Issues, Methadone: A Love/Hate Relationship in Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Prognostication and many more. AAHPM Store. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Editor's Note 
  • When do you most often read AAHPM SmartBrief?
At the end of the day or in the evening.
When I can find time between patient visits.
First thing in the morning.
I typically catch up on this reading over the weekend.

Every individual has a place to fill in the world and is important in some respect whether he chooses to be so or not."
--Nathaniel Hawthorne,
American author

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