Stories We're Following This Week

News + Insights from around the Web + The Patient's Playbook Bottom Line. 


Knock-Knock. Who's There?
Your Doctor.

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Thinkstock

"If I had called my regular doctor, I would have had to fit into their schedule — probably the next day — fight traffic, find parking and wait an hour in the waiting room."

—New health care apps are taking a page from the past, 
and sending doctors and nurses on house calls (Los Angeles Times)

Bottom Line: Apps that send health care practitioners to your home can be wonderfully convenient, but they are no substitute for having a strong relationship with a primary care physician. Telemedicine apps can be great for the small stuff: sore throats, dog bites, prescription refills. But when it comes to the treatment of chronic health problems, you really want to develop relationships with specialists who know you, your medical history, and your family history intimately. 


10% of Older People Have Been Victims of Abuse

Thinkstock, Mickey Rooney in October 2009

Thinkstock, Mickey Rooney in October 2009

"He was one of Hollywood's greatest actors, someone whose estate could have been worth hundreds of millions when he died in summer 2014. Instead, he endured beatings, humiliation and poverty at the hands of his eighth wife and one of her sons, both accused today of elder abuse and destroying a legend."

—Beloved actor Mickey Rooney quietly suffered in his final years, according to a Hollywood Reporter investigation. If true, he was among the 1 in 10 older Americans who are regularly victimized, 
according to a recent New England Journal of Medicine study.

Bottom Line: Abuse comes in many forms: sexual or emotional abuse, physical violence, financial manipulation. The issues are complex, and there is rarely a single solution. Every state has a reporting mechanism whereby the suspicion of elder abuse can be reported and investigated. If you or someone you love is in danger, the National Center on Elder Abuse provides a state-by-state listing of who to call.


New Research Confirms What Mom has Known All Along

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Thinkstock

"Overall, individuals who ate approximately 11 to 14 homemade meals per week had a 13% lower risk for developing type 2 diabetes compared with those who had less than 6 homemade meals each week." 

—It's time to get cooking, according to research presented at the annual
American Heart Association meeting (Endocrinology Advisor).

Bottom Line: Being overweight or obese puts you at risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. So it's no surprise that a healthy diet and regular exercise are a recipe for a longer life. In the current study, researchers demonstrated that eating homemade meals was also associated with less weight gain. To test your risk for type 2 diabetes, check out the American Diabetes Association's My Health Advisor


Getting to 120: Should We Be More Aggressive about Blood Pressure Control?

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Thinkstock

"For blood pressure patients 50 and older, going for a reading of 120... cuts events such as heart attack, stroke and heart failure by 25%. And people whose blood pressure was forced this low were 27% less likely to die... than people whose blood pressures were at the current target of 140."

—A new study finds that patients who use drugs to lower their blood pressure even more
stand to gain tremendous cardiovascular benefits (NBC News)

Bottom Line: More research is needed, and your specific health circumstances may call for a different approach, but when a third of Americans have hypertension, it's important to consider this new research. The Patient's Playbook approach? Immerse yourself in the current literature, be clear about your medical goals and personal risk factors, and talk with your PCP about whether more treatment is the right choice for you.


Got a great story we should be following? Let us know in the comments below.