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A Key to Solving “Moments of Forgetfulness” among the Elderly

A study from Columbia University about memory loss and its prevention suggests that the long-wait may be over for those who fear dementia and, perhaps, for those who fear that they are susceptible to having Alzheimer’s disease. (http://www.webmd.com/brain/news/20130828/brain-protein-is-a-key-to-senior-moments-study-finds)

According to Louis Kraml on Hitsville, there is a difference with the experiences of those who have the symptoms of dementia and those who experience the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.  Alzheimer’s disease comes abruptly which means the victim may experience abrupt loss of memory. On the other hand, dementia, which is a part of normal aging process, comes naturally.

reversing memory lossDr. Scott Small, a co-author of the study, said that they have found a protein which might be holding the key to the possibility of reversing memory loss that is related to aging. This protein, called as RbAp48, is concentrated in the brain’s hippocampus area.  The research team said that RbAp48 deficiency may contribute significantly in memory loss as one ages.

Researchers said that when they increased the levels of the said protein in old mice, their performance became comparable to that of young mice.”

In their study, Small and his team took into account memory loss both as a result of Alzheimer’s disease and as a result of the natural aging process. They noted that there is buildup of amyloid plaques in the neurons of the brain among Alzheimer’s patients, a thing that does not happen in people with dementia cases.

In any case, the team hoped that future researches would further explain the role of RbAp48 in memory loss across all ages and even across different types of diseases that involve memory loss.

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A History of the American Health Care System

Everyone knows that there’s a lot of talk in the U.S. about the changes, improvements and costs of the medical healthcare. The American healthcare as we know it today is the result of a long process; it has passed through several important stages, and there are, of course, several steps that can make it even better.

Nevertheless, in order to understand the actual healthcare system, it is important to take a look at its history, because the American healthcare system has not been like it is now from the very beginning. History says that less than 100 years ago, for example, there was no healthcare system in America.

As mentioned above, the American healthcare system still requires changes and improvements, and the vast majority of Americans will agree with this. Statistics say that about 45 million Americans have no medical insurance at all, meaning that about 15 percent of the Americans are forced to postpone medical care as they cannot pay for the blood tests, medical investigations, etc that they might need, and so they never see a doctor or if they do, a visit to the doctor could lead them to an unexpected financial burden. For many, the American healthcare system is still unattainable and unaffordable.

Prior to the beginning of the twentieth century, as the medical sciences were not developed enough and money was not invested in medical research, the doctors could not be of great help to sick people, and this explains why they did not charge that much for their services. Once the Great Depression started, the situation got even worse.

Baylor Hospital from Dallas created a system, which was later known as the Blue Cross, in order to somehow help people pay their medical bills. Once medical sciences developed and the hospitals and medical procedures got more sophisticated, the doctors began to be able to do more for their sick patients.

Under these conditions, people began to trust more in doctors and their ability to treat the diseases. That meant that costs for the medical services got bigger. In the 1930’s the Blue Shield system was created, with the goal of insuring the doctors, helping them to get paid for the medical procedures they were performing in order to help sick people.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield were successful, and for this reason more people wanted to get involved in helping people pay their medical bills. As a consequence, there were more and more medical insurers on the market. It was during the Second World War that employers started to offer medical insurance as an added benefit to the work contract. Short time after, almost all the employers offered medical healthcare insurance to the people they wanted to hire. It is interesting to note that the things were happening this way in America, while in many other countries it was the government that paid for the medical bills and controlled the entire healthcare system.

In the beginning, the Blue health insurance system asked for the same insurance fee regardless of the patients’ health conditions, but as soon as other medical insurers appeared on the market, prices began to change depending on the type of medical services, the age of the person, the gender and health problems. Shortly after this, sick people were unable to find appropriate and (at the same time) affordable health insurance.

Between 1940 and 1960 the medical insurance system continued to develop, as more and more insurers entered the market, the medical technology advanced and people began to trust more in the new medical procedures.  At the same time, the authorities encouraged the companies to offer medical health insurance to their employees. As a consequence, the medical insurance sector was pretty much organized during the 70s, offering a wide array of products.

But there were also some problems that needed to be addressed. For example, poor people, day laborers and the smaller companies, which did not have much profit, were unable to get any sort of medical insurance. Another problem was that once people retired, they stopped having medical insurance.

When John F. Kennedy was elected president of the U.S. things changed for the bette; more attention was given to the medical insurance system that was then in function. Shortly after this, the doctors were promised to be reimbursed if taking care of older patients that were retired or by people that couldn’t afford to pay for medical insurance.

Medicare was the American health care system which started its activity in 1965, covering the costs of the medical services. Medicaid was meant to offer medical help to the indigent. Although both programs started small, they grew significantly in only a few years.

Despite the troubled times, Medicare and Medicaid managed to survive and expand, and in 2001 they were insuring 32% of the healthcare related costs in the entire U.S.A.

During the Clinton administration several changes to the medical insurance happened. Healthcare reform was one of the priorities; thus the Health Security Express emerged in July 1994.

During the Bush administration the efforts continued in order to offer details to people that did not have medical insurance at all. In 2001 the Congress debated Patients’ Bill of Rights, which sustained a people’s list of rights related to health care. The bill was meant to insure a certain quality of the medical services the people were entitled to. Still, due to the opposition coming from several groups, the bill did not pass in 2002.

Then President Bush signed the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act, which was meant to be of great help for the elderly citizens, who were thus able to have access to a medication prescription plan.

President Barack Obama, in his presidential campaign, talked about a National Health Insurance Exchange, which would mean a combination between private insurance plans and governmental medical services. This insurance would be guaranteed to American citizens, no matter their current health.

Several of the American states have demonstrated, through the years, a strong interest in improving health care insurance for their citizens. Among them there are Minnesota, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Other states function under the charity care scheme, meaning that hospitals and all the other health care providing services are reimbursed by authorities. An example of this is New Jersey. In San Francisco, California there is a law that medically insures all inhabitants, no matter if they are insured or not.

The health care system in the U.S. benefits from continuous attention. The goal is to make it more functional, able to address all the needs of the citizens, be them medically insured or not. The system is like a living organism, going through all sorts of changes, developing and trying to meet all various needs of the American Citizens, no matter their gender, age, social status, financial status or health.

One thing is certain: during the following years we are going to witness even more changes, as the healthcare system will try to continuously adapt to the new challenges.

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