Stories We're Following this Week

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

How Will You Pay for Future Medical Care?


“They’re the people who get their flu shots, get their mammograms, exercise, always wear seatbelts.”

—Research shows that people who buy long-term care insurance tend
to be cautious, conscientious, and least likely to need it. (NYT)

Bottom Line: Americans are living longer than ever before. Yet, we are terrible at planning for the inevitable: How to pay for medical care in our golden years. As the story notes, the average annual cost of a semiprivate room in a nursing home is $81,030, while the average home health care cost is $21 an hour. Whether you buy insurance, stash money away for the future, or take another approach, this thoughtful story delves into important factors to consider—including seeking the advice of a financial planner. 

Should You Take a Break from Drinking?


“Even a glass of wine is 250 to 300 calories. If you multiply that times seven, that’s 2,000 calories a week. That’s about a pound of weight lost a week if nothing else changes and you simply eliminate alcohol.”

-Better sleep, more energy, and a happier liver are among the many
suspected benefits of an alcohol cleanse. (WebMD)

Bottom Line: Anecdotal evidence indicates that alcohol vacations are like a "reset" for your body. Take, for example, the results of an impromptu study in 2013, involving 10 New Scientist staffers (the "subjects") and researchers at the Institute for Liver and Digestive Health at University College London Medical School. The subjects, who considered themselves to be normal drinkers ("normal" for Londoners, that is), abstained for five weeks. At the end of their dry spells, their liver fat fell by an average of 15%, blood sugar fell by 16%, cholesterol dropped by 5%, and they lost an average of 3 pounds each. (They also reported less social contact.) 

This is What it Feels like When Adults Discover They Have Autism


"I was elated. I was so relieved. I felt vindicated. So much of my life had always been such a mystery, but I had a real answer now."

—Three adults with autism describe how they discovered their
condition late in life—and what it meant for them. (NPR)

Bottom Line: Getting a diagnosis of autism was as revelatory as it was a relief for these individuals and their families. But a diagnosis is just the first step in a long journey. As with any condition, it's important to seek out an expert—someone whose practice is totally focused on your specific problem—who can confirm (or disprove) your diagnosis and provide the full picture of your illness. The disease-specific philanthropies devoted to your condition are a great place to turn for support and guidance along the way.

Quick Guide: How Long Do Leftovers
Last in the Fridge?


"If something gets soggy, absorbs too much moisture, or a sauce starts to separate, you probably want to pass on seconds."

—A food safety expert at the USDA provides basic guidelines—from leftover
pizza to pad Thai. (Refinery29)

Bottom Line: Food-borne illness is no picnic. But do you really need a chart to tell you not to eat four-day old pizza that's starting to emit a strange smell? As the author notes: "If something looks or smells bad, don't eat it."