Stories We're Following This Week

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


7 Life-Saving Steps that Pre-Diabetic Patients Should Take Now

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Thinkstock

"Lynette Carpenter got serious about staving off diabetes around the time her cousin’s leg was amputated because of the disease. She started to make a dish she called Sexy Pork Chops, involving a bell pepper, an onion and the oven. She weaned herself off Coca-Cola, going from about 50 cans a week to fewer than seven."

New data shows diabetes cases have fallen significantly, but the portion of Americans
with diabetes is still more than double what it was in the 1990s (New York Times)

Bottom Line: If you've been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, you have the power to turn things around. WebMD provides 7 Steps to Take Now to prevent pre-diabetes from becoming diabetes. Additionally, having a strong relationship with a devoted primary care physician is part of The Patient's Playbook approach keeping on track for a lifetime of better health.


What Causes Autism? A $4.6 Million Project Is Recruiting Patients to Find an Answer.

THINKSTOCK

THINKSTOCK

"So much of the time we are all overwhelmed and in the moment in day-to-day life. This is something we can do to make things a little easier for families who will deal with autism in the future."

—Some 5,000 children and adults with autism are being recuited by Kaiser Permanente
as part of a $4.6 million project that may help to unlock the disease's genetic secrets (KQED)

Bottom Line: The rising rate of childhood autism is alarming, and researchers believe genetics and environmental triggers are contributing factors. While studies have identified different genes associated with autism, much remains to be learned. Kaiser is collecting blood and saliva samples for a "biobank" that may help scientists find new ways to prevent and treat autism spectrum disorders. To learn more or to participate, visit the Autism Family Biobank Study


When You're Over 75 and Still Playing the Role of Caregiver

"He can’t walk but he can hug and kiss and say ‘Thank you,’ ‘I love you,’ and ‘Amen.'"

—Dance instructor Joe Siracusa, 93, featured in a video narrated by Tobey Maguire, is among the millions of elderly parents who care for an adult child with special needs (Next Avenure)

Bottom Line: According to a report from the National Alliance for Caregiving and the AARP Public Policy Institute, 3 million adults over age 75 are providing care to a family member or friend. While more than half of these are caring for a spouse, the others are caring for even older parents, a sibling, a friend, or an adult child. The National Alliance for Caregiving provides a comprehensive list of resources for more information about caregiving communities, financial assistance, help for transitional care, and more. If you are struggling with caregiving and find you cannot take on this challenging role, Next Avenue's helpful story on this issue provides support and resources just for you.


How Coffee, Alcohol, and Parenthood Are Fouling Your Mood

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Thinkstock

"Fragmented sleep can also be caused by disorders such as sleep apnea and insomnia, or by the ingestion of too much caffeine or alcohol."

—A new Johns Hopkins study confirms that quality of sleep (specifically: continuous, uninterrupted sleep) 
may be more important than quantity of sleep (Wall Street Journal)

Bottom Line: Sleep fragmentation makes us cranky. Study participants who were subjected to forced awakenings throughout the night had a 31% reduction in positive mood, whereas those who simply delayed bedtimes had only a 12% decline. Having a hard time getting and staying asleep? The Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School has 12 great tips for you.


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