Disability News Weekly Roundup Monday, Nov 18 – Friday Nov 22

Disability News Weekly Roundup

Health:

Science Daily— Adult Survivors of Childhood Cancer at Risk of Early Aging

Researchers found that frail health was associated with a greater risk for adult childhood cancer survivors of death and chronic disease. Being frail was defined by the presence of at least three of the following — weakness, self-reported exhaustion, physical inactivity, low muscle mass and slow walking speed. The unexpectedly high prevalence of frailty among childhood cancer survivors suggests accelerated aging.

Science Daily— Drug Effective in Preventing Stroke, Reducing Bleeding, Cardiovascular Death in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 800,000 Americans die each year from heart disease and stroke. Stroke is the leading cause of serious long-term disability and death in the US. In addition to lifestyle changes, medications such as anti-blood clotting drugs are helpful in the prevention of stroke.

MedPageToday— Add-On Simponi Boosts Response in Arthritis

The addition of monthly subcutaneous injections of golimumab (Simponi) to a variety of conventional disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) led to high rates of response among patients with active rheumatoid arthritis, a large, open-label study found.

MedPageToday— Looks Like CJD But Isn’t Always

Patients suspected to have Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) should be tested for other rare but treatable conditions, said researchers with case reports to back up the recommendation. Findings suggest that cerebrospinal fluid neuronal surface antigens analysis should be included in the diagnostic workup of patients with rapidly progressive central nervous system syndromes.

Policy:

The Vancouver Sun— Vancouver’s ban on the humble doorknob likely to be a trendsetter

According to a new amendment to Vancouver’s building code, the Canadian city has banned the inclusion of doorknobs in all future housing constructions, the Vancouver Sun reported.  Instead, doorknobs and knobbed faucets will be replaced with lever handles in an attempt to make buildings more accessible to seniors and people with disabilities. (Fox News Reports)

ABC News—Obama Seeks 2nd Chance for UN Disabilities Pact

The treaty aims to ensure the disabled enjoy equal rights as their fellow citizens, extending many provisions introduced by the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act that was passed by Congress and then signed into law by President George H.W. Bush more than two decades ago. Advocates say U.S. ratification would benefit American veterans, families, students and others wishing to live, travel, work or study overseas by offering the United States a platform to help other governments extend more services for disabled people. (The AP reports)

Fox News—Senate panel passes bill to insulate veterans’ services from future government shutdowns

Lawmakers want to extend safeguards to disability payments, pensions and educational assistance, all of which would have been halted if (last month’s 16-day shutdown) had continued much longer.

California Healthline—Innovation, Policy Outlook for Autism

A Senate select committee last week held a hearing in Santa Ana to examine a successful public-private autism research and treatment partnership in Orange County, and to see what legislation might be needed for autism care in the next year.

Science:

Science Daily— Differences in Brains of Children with Nonverbal Learning Disability

A Michigan State University researcher has discovered the first anatomical evidence that the brains of children with a nonverbal learning disability – long considered a “pseudo” diagnosis – may develop differently than the brains of other children. The finding, published in Child Neuropsychology, could ultimately help educators and clinicians better distinguish between – and treat – children with a nonverbal learning disability, or NLVD, and those with Asperger’s, or high functioning autism, which is often confused with NLVD.

Science Daily— Blood Test Accurately Diagnoses Concussion, Predicts Long Term Cognitive Disability

A new blood biomarker correctly predicted which concussion victims went on to have white matter tract structural damage and persistent cognitive dysfunction following a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Researchers found that the blood levels of a protein were twice as high in a subset of patients following a traumatic injury. If validated in larger studies, this blood test could identify concussion patients at increased risk for persistent cognitive dysfunction or further brain damage and disability if returning to sports or military activities.

Sports:

CNN— Olympic champion: ‘In life, there is always a hurdle’

Gail Devers is a three-time Olympic gold medalist in track and field. But when she was in college, a diagnosis of Graves’ disease, an immune system disorder that results in the overproduction of thyroid hormones, posed one of her biggest hurdles.

Special Interest:

CNN— CNN Heroes: Operation Finally Home

Airing December 8th, Dan Wallrath builds homes for disabiled veterans in this CNN documentary. “At Operation FINALLY HOME, we provide custom-built, mortgage free homes to America’s Heroes and the widows of the fallen who have sacrificed so much to defend our freedoms and our way of life.

New England Journal of Medicine—Making Medical Decisions for Patients without Surrogates

People who are decisionally incapacitated but haven’t provided advance directives for their health care and have no health care surrogates — sometimes called the “unbefriended” or “unrepresented” — are some of the most powerless and marginalized members of society. Most of the unrepresented are elderly, homeless, mentally disabled, or socially alienated. Yet medical decision making for these vulnerable patients often lacks even minimally sufficient safeguards and protections. Consequently, health care decisions made on their behalf are at risk of being biased, arbitrary, corrupt, or careless

The Seattle Times—The rare mental-health fixers

Mary and Dennis’s job title — peer bridgers — is new to the local mental-health system, but so intuitive it is a no-brainer. Mary and Dennis help ease patients out of Navos, a community psychiatric hospital in West Seattle, and, for up to three months, help to plant them in new lives firmly enough that they won’t quickly need readmission.

Al Jazeera—The Military’s Hidden Mental Health Crisis: Spousal Trauma

In a U.S. military psychologically ravaged by 12 years of continuous war, troops’ family members, like Melissa, are the victims of a hidden mental-health crisis, missing from the public calculus of the social costs of combat and systematically denied by the institution that placed their partners — and them — in harm’s way. Interviews with military doctors, psychologists, social workers and counselors and with service members and spouses suggest that this problem is ubiquitous yet invisible.

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