Articles written by Tait Trussell


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  • Religious beliefs linked to healthier lives

    Tait Trussell, Senior Wire|Jan 1, 2016

    What are the physical effects of religious faith? A study tracking 20,000 Americans found that white people who attended church regularly lived an average of seven years longer than their counterparts who didn’t go to church. And churchgoing black people lived an average of 14 years longer. The relationship between religious faith and health has been analyzed in thousands of studies in recent years, according to Harold G. Koenig, MD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University. “People who feel their life is part of a l...

  • How alcohol impacts organs

    Tait Trussell, Senior Wire|Mar 1, 2015

    My youngest cousin, age 50, is the daughter I never had. Now she is dying of liver disease. Laura was here for a visit a few months ago, along with her two brothers and her father — my brother, Douglas. It was a delightful family visit, although Laura spent considerable time resting in our basement bedroom, missing out on the guffaws and accompanying banter, along with accounts of our recollections of past happier years when we all lived in Washington. Laura was the youngest of Doug’s offspring – a little child in glasses. She grew up to be a...

  • Chronic pain is widespread, misunderstood

    Tait Trussell, Senior Wire|Jan 1, 2015

    Millions of Americans are suffering needlessly with chronic pain, according to a new book, A Nation in Pain. The author, Judy Foreman, calls the opioid wars not only medical but psychological, economic, political and cultural. We are suffering needlessly in what she calls “an unrecognized health epidemic.” Pain is the main reason seniors visit their doctors. Research has shown that 50 percent of older adults who live on their own and 75 percent to 85 percent of the elderly in care facilities suffer from chronic pain. Yet, pain among older adu...

  • Research finds statins make men more sedentary

    Tait Trussell, Senior Wire|Sep 1, 2014

    Doctors often prescribe statins for people with high cholesterol to lower their total cholesterol and reduce their risk of a heart attack or stroke. The dangers of statins often seem to be brushed aside. Most people taking statins will take them for the rest of their lives unless they reach normal cholesterol levels through diet, exercise, weight loss and nutritional supplements. This can make statin side effects more difficult to manage. For some people, statin side effects can make any benefit of taking a statin hardly worth it. Now,...

  • New depression treatments move beyond just drugs

    Tait Trussell, Senior Wire|Jul 1, 2014

    New findings in the physiological causes of depression are leading to treatments other than widely used antidepressants, such as Prozac and Zoloft, according to a report in the journal Current Psychiatry. Depression is a problem facing many seniors. New treatments include new medications, electrical and magnetic stimulation of the brain, and long-term cognitive behavioral therapy for stress management. Authors of the new study are Murali Rao, MD, and Julie M. Alderson, DO. Rao is professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behaviora...

  • Remembering all the great new stuff of the '50s

    Tait Trussell, Senior Wire|May 1, 2014

    It was in 1945 that the Raytheon Company’s Percy Spencer stood in front of a magnetron (the power tube of radar). He felt a candy bar melt in his pocket. When he put popcorn kernels in front of the magnetron, the kernels exploded all over the laboratory. Ten years later, Spencer patented a “radar range” that cooked with high-frequency radio waves. That same year, the Tappan Stove Co. introduced the first home microwave model. Now millions of meals come quickly from the nation’s microwaves every day. In 1957, Enovid, a drug the FDA approve...

  • The risks you take when you take testosterone

    Tait Trussell, Senior Wire|May 1, 2014

    You can’t watch television for more than an hour without being exposed to pleas to use either Viagra or Cialis to deal with erectile dysfunction. Now testosterone is being pushed. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), however, warned of severe dangers in using testosterone supplements. The new research examined more than 8,000 male veterans with low testosterone. Researchers compared the rates of cardiovascular ills among those who had testosterone supplementation and those who had not had supplements. The study found that m...

  • Research investment should focus on slowing the aging process

    Tait Trussell, Senior Wire|Jan 1, 2014

    A new study involving several universities indicates that research into the delay of aging would have a better payoff than advances in such fatal diseases as cancer and heart problems. Even modest gains in the scientific comprehension of how to slow the aging process would mean 11.7 million more healthy seniors over age 65 in 2060 than even optimistic advances in cancer and heart research. This is according to analysis by scientists from the University of Southern California, Harvard University, Columbia University, the University of Illinois...

  • This short word signals who has the power

    Tait Trussell, Senior Wire|Jan 1, 2014

    People who are self-confident, who have power or status, tend to use the word “I” more frequently than those with less power or less sure of themselves. Right? Wrong. A study done at University of Texas at Austin found that people who often say “I” tend to be less powerful or sure of themselves than those who refrain from using “I.” James W. Pennebaker, chairman of the Psychology Department at the university, and his colleagues, have pioneered research on the vertical pronoun and its manifestations and uses. Your use of “I” says more about...

  • Survey contrasts attitudes of centenarians vs. baby boomers

    Tait Trussell, Senior Wire|Dec 1, 2013

    Only six percent of centenarians say they wished they had more money. This is indeed surprising because most people don’t expect to live to age 100, so many have run short of retirement savings before reaching this advanced age. This small proportion who indicated they were okay financially was among the findings in a survey conducted last spring by the GFK Roper firm for UnitedHealthcare insurance company. Having a longer life doesn’t mean having a longer list of regrets either. When asked what these centenarians would have done differently if...

  • Subtle symptoms may indicate male menopause

    Tait Trussell, Senior Wire|Dec 1, 2013

    Menopause, or change of life – as women become too old to bear children – can frequently be an agonizing and stressful time. But did you know there is male menopause? It’s one of the “most under-diagnosed” ailments among older men, according to Dr. Charles Cartwright of Urology Associates of Lake County, Florida. Cartwright is part of a group of central Florida urologists who have been trying to find new and better treatments for male menopause. He has diagnosed and treated hundreds of cases in his practice. As men age, their productio...

  • Does being religious make you healthier?

    Tait Trussell, Senior Wire|Oct 1, 2013

    Seniors who attend religious services regularly tend to live longer and enjoy better health. The percentage of Americans who say they go to church is about the same as in 1940, even though you may believe that religion is on the wane in this country. Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of the Gallup Poll, is author of a new book, God is Alive and Well. The book, he says, is grounded in more than one million Gallup interviews conducted over the years. “There is an increasing interest in the subject among researchers and the public,” according to Sus...

  • New tax deductions for health care costs

    Tait Trussell, Senior Wire|Sep 1, 2013

    Seniors who list various deductions on their income tax returns are getting a little-known break. It deals with health costs. For 2013 taxes, the claim for health related costs was jacked up from 7.5 percent to 10 percent of Adjusted Gross Income — except for taxpayers or their spouses who are 65 or older. For us seniors the deduction remains at 7.5 percent from 2013 to 2017. If your health-care expenses this year are anywhere near those of the typical senior, they would be about $10,600 each for you and your spouse. In 2010, health expenses a...

  • Suicide rate is highest in over-65 age group

    Tait Trussell, Senior Wire|Sep 1, 2013

    Suicide among senior citizens is a major health problem, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Many seniors have depression symptoms that are not properly diagnosed which leaves them vulnerable to suicide attempts. Every year, more than 36,000 Americans take their lives, says the CDC. From all these deaths, the age group with the highest rate of suicide is among those over age 65. Another 465,000 had to have medical treatment because of their failed attempts at killing themselves. Seniors who tend to try suicide...

  • Strong imagination relies on strong memory

    Tait Trussell, Senior Wire|Aug 1, 2013

    “I only see clearly what I remember,” as French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau put it. Some of us can’t even remember what we have seen clearly. Many older adults find it hard to recall past events. A Harvard University study examined how well seniors could create imaginary scenarios. The research found that the lack of this ability is linked to the seniors’ ability to recall detailed memories too. According to the study, episodic memory, which is our personal memories of past experiences, “allows individuals to project themselves both back...

  • Shortage will require re-thinking how we value and pay home health workers

    Tait Trussell, Senior Wire|Jul 1, 2013

    Direct-care health aide — helping the elderly bathe, dress and eat — is the fastest growing occupation in the U.S. But the labor shortage is dire. As the baby boomers age, this sector of health care faces a dangerous shortage because the work is surely not “easy street” and the pay is crummy. Aides are often bitten, kicked or cursed at by patients with dementia. Nursing homes and in-home health care agencies are struggling to find help, and about 20 percent of the workers in this field of care are more than 55 years of age and eager to retire....

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