What Is the Zika Virus Risk for Older Adults?

The severe birth defects in babies born to women suspected of having the Zika virus have received most of the attention about this disease in the news, but the virus also poses a risk to older adults. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said in an interview with AARP that researchers are looking at  a possible link between the mosquito-borne virus and developing Guillain-Barre syndrome, which can lead to paralysis in adults. “There seems …

Sex Helps Boost Brainpower

Love might be good for the heart, but it turns out that sex is good for the brain, especially as we age. And, in fact, a healthy sex life seems to benefit men’s and women’s brain’s differently, a new study finds. Researchers at Coventry University in England studied 6,800 men and women 50 and older and found that those who were sexually active scored higher on cognitive tests than those who were not. (Sexual activity included intercourse, masturbation, petting or …

6 Foods a Top Food Poisoning Expert Won’t Eat

Think of every major outbreak of foodborne illness in the past 23 years and Seattle attorney Bill Marler was involved, representing victims who were hospitalized or, in several tragic cases, died from eating tainted food. He and his firm, Marler Clark, not only have won more than $600 million for their clients, but Marler has become a de facto expert in the complexities of our food safety system, from the science of tracking an outbreak to dealing with recalcitrant restaurant …

5 Dramatic Ways Women’s and Men’s Heart Attacks Differ

A woman’s heart attack is different from a man’s in just about every possible way: risk factors, symptoms, causes, treatment, outcome, rate of complications, even use of cardiac rehab. That’s the basic conclusion of the American Heart Association’s first scientific statement on gender differences in heart attack patients, published in its journal Circulation. “Despite stunning improvements in cardiovascular deaths over the last decade, women still fare worse than men and heart disease in women remains  under-diagnosed, and under-treated, especially among African-American …

Could Your Heartburn Pills Contribute to Kidney Disease?

When proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) were first approved in the 1980s, they seemed like a safe way to help people with chronic heartburn, acid reflux and ulcers. Known by brand names such as Prilosec, Prevacid and Nexium, they weren’t associated with any serious side effects, so doctors began prescribing them to millions of patients. What doctors didn’t anticipate were the long-term effects of these drugs. They’ve recently been linked to increased risk of bone fracture, pneumonia, C. difficile infections, low levels of …

States Simplify Medicaid Sign-Ups

Getting on Medicaid has never been so easy. In the past two years, 31 states and the District of Columbia have expanded eligibility for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, but even more have simplified sign-ups and renewals, according to a 50-state survey released Jan. 21. For example, 49 states this year take applications for Medicaid by telephone, up from 15 in 2013, reports the Kaiser Family Foundation. (KHN is an editorially independent program of the foundation.) All but one state …