Inability to balance on one leg may reflect stroke risk
Researchers in Japan say that if a person has difficulty standing on one leg for at least 20 second it may suggest damage to small blood vessels in their brain. And that could mean they have a higher risk of suffering a stroke.
Their study, published in the journal Stroke, found an association between a lack of balancing skills and a higher risk of damage in people who otherwise show no signs of it. Small vessel disease damages arteries by making them less flexible and interferes with the flow of blood. The chances of developing this condition usually increases with age.
The researchers asked participants to stand on one leg for up to 60 seconds with both eyes open. This examination was carried out twice, with the best recorded time from each participant used for the analysis. A total of 841 women and 546 men, with an average age of 67, participated in the study. Afterward, the brains of the participants were examined using MRIs to evaluate any brain blood vessel damage. Also, the scientists used questionnaires to test for cognitive problems.
The result was that people who couldn’t balance on one leg for more than 20 seconds were more likely to have blood vessel damage. That was particularly true if multiple brain lesions were found. Those people also had lower cognition scores on the questionnaires.
Those with damage tended to be older, with higher blood pressure and clear thickening of their carotid arteries.
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Sourced from: Medical News Today, Capacity to balance on one leg reflects brain health
Published On: Dec 19th 2014
Almost half of patients withhold sensitive medical information
The first real-world trial of patient-controlled access to electronic medical records found that 49 percent of patients chose to hold back sensitive medical information from their health care professionals.
Researchers from Clemson University, the Regenstrief Institute, Indiana University School of Medicine and Eskenazi Health worked together on this study published in Journal of General Internal Medicine.
The six-month trial analyzed 105 patients who had access to their electronic medical records involving sexually transmitted diseases, drug abuse, and mental health. The patients had the choice to designate which health care providers could see which information. The patients could hide all or some of the information. However, health care professionals could override a patient’s block and see it if they felt it was essential to the patient’s health.
Forty-nine percent of patients opted to withhold sensitive information. The patients strongly preferred having this control, whereas health care providers were divided. Half of the health care providers thought it acceptable for patients to withhold some information, but a quarter of them felt very uncomfortable not knowing all the information and believed it might affect the patient’s case.
The study noted it is important to provide patients with the possibility of controlling their records because otherwise they may refuse care or disregard health data altogether. This practice may also help patients feel more confident in their providers and the health care system. Overall the study showcased people not only want control of their medical records but will actively put that control into action.
NEXT: Women often don’t ask about incontinence treatment
Sourced from: sciencedaily.com, 49 percent of patients withhold clinically sensitive information
Published On: Dec 19th 2014
Women often don't ask about incontinence treatment
Millions of people live with incontinence, but few talk about it because of the stigma attached to the condition. A new study published in Maturitas found doctors who asked women about their incontinence and helped treat it reduced incontinence symptoms two to three times more than doctors who ignored the condition until women complained.
Researchers from the University of Groningen in The Netherlands looked over questionnaires from 2,390 women at least 55 years of age. Of that number, a third (744) had involuntary urine loss at least once per month. Overall, 350 women had incontinence.
Primary care doctors were randomly divided into two groups: those who asked about incontinence and those who practiced standard care. The doctors who asked about incontinence tested patients for their symptoms and then followed up with urologists and physical therapists to create a treatment plan. Doctors in the standard care group waited until the patient was proactive about their incontinence.
One year later, 34 percent of the 105 women who started a treatment plan saw their symptoms improve due to physical therapy and lifestyle changes. Common treatments included pelvic floor exercises, bladder training, and biofeedback. Six women took medication, three had surgery, and 41 underwent further diagnostic testing. Of the 184 women in the standard care group, only three began treatment.
Getting treatment seemed to help greatly. In fact, women who had treatment were twice as likely to have reduced symptoms compared to women in the standard care group who did not receive treatment. This increased to three times for women with moderate to severe incontinence who were treated compared to those who were not.
The study concluded doctors need to be more proactive and ask women about their incontinence because there are viable options for improving quality of life.
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Sourced from: reuters.com, Women live with incontinence, but it can be treated
Published On: Dec 19th 2014