Monday, July 28, 2008

Surgery and the Very Old - How Far Should You Go?

1. The New York Times has an article dated July 18, 2008, discussing how far the medical community should go in treating the very old.

The question seems to hover around such surgeries as knee and hip replacement, cataract surgery, heart valve replacement, bypass operations, pacemaker implants, and treatment for slow-growing cancers.

When seniors arrive at the ripe-old age of 98 or 99 or above, are such surgeries necessary, helpful or cruel and painful?

2. A study conducted by Simon Forstmeier and colleagues at the University of Zurich in Switzerland found that seniors with a can-do attitude did better on memory and thinking tests given at the time of the study.

Forstmeier believes people can be trained to be more optimistic, helping to keep the aging brain in shape, and in the long run, helping build a brain resistant to Alzheimer's.

3. The Alzheimer's Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report out Sunday, that all adults can take the following steps to improve or maintain cognition.

+ Follow a low-fat diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
+ Get out and move most days of the week.
+ Play games, do crosswords or take a class.
+ Reduce high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
+ Adopt an optimistic approach to life.

There's that word optimistic again. Must be something in the attitude that can help people fight Alzheimer's and related diseases. That is sometimes difficult to do in this day and age, but I believe following the above steps will help combat the disease.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

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