Health Updates 16 May 2011

  • Medicare trust broke by 2024: “The Medicare trust fund will run out of money by 2024, announced Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, five years earlier than last year’s report because of changes in economic assumptions.  A longer life span, rising health care costs and a reduction in payroll taxes due to a weaker labor force are all contributing factors to this shortfall.  ‘The Medicare report illustrates, once again, the importance of the reforms in the Affordable Care Act, which will significantly strengthen Medicare’s finances and extend the life of the Medicare Trust Fund’ said Geithner.” (
  • Swedish study links lower breast cancer risk to heavy coffee intake: “Women who drank at least five cups of coffee a day had a significantly lower risk of post-menopausal breast cancer, an analysis of two large cohort studies suggested.”  However, it should be noted that the study has its limitations, and that after “adjustment for HRT, smoking, education and alcohol consumption, the effect of coffee consumption on breast cancer risk was no longer significant”.  (Charles Bankhead, MedPage Today)
  • Eating your veggies can help slow down mental decline: “While the Alzheimer’s Association estimates the costs of treating Alzheimer’s to rise five-fold to $1.08 trillion by 2050, some researchers believe these costs can be lowered if people behaved healthier, ‘What’s good for your brain is good for your heart, and vice versa’ said Alzheimer’s expert Huntington Potter of USF.  ‘Cardiovascular disease worked with Alzheimer’s disease to cause even worse dementia’.”  Here are some simple tips to maintain brain health and help fight dementia: 1) eat your veggies; 2) get outdoors for vitamin D; 3) use your brain; and 4) talk to people – stay socially connected. (Euna Lhee,
  • Bedbugs may trigger anxiety: “The media frenzy surrounding reports of bedbug infestations in New York may increase acute anxiety and mood disorders.  Although the numbers of cases are few – just 10 in the study reported here – Even Rieder, MD, of Langone Medical Center, and colleagues are urging colleagues to be aware of the risk associated with the current bedbug outbreak.  ‘If you’re always struggling with seeing the world as an unsafe place, it’s easy [for something like this] to bolster your delusions,’ said Kenneth Silk, MD, of the University of Michigan, chair of the APA’s scientific program committee, who was not involved in the study”. (Kristina Fiore, MedPage Today)

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