Young Adults: The New Face of Heroin Addiction

An epidemic of heroin addiction is spreading among young adults, yet for the most part, the problem remains hidden. Shamed parents, blaming themselves and wondering what they did wrong, struggle alone. As one  boomer mom told me, “No one wants to announce to family and friends that their son is a drug addict.” To publicize the problem of addiction, a “Stop the Silence” rally is planned for Sunday, Oct. 4, in Washington, D.C. Organizers from a new national organization, Facing …

Feel Like You’re Paying More for Health Insurance? Blame Deductibles

Though workers have seen moderate increases in health insurance premiums in recent years, deductibles and the number of workers paying them have increased sharply, according to a new study by Kaiser Family Foundation. Five years ago, 70 percent of workers in an employer-sponsored plan paid a deductible, compared with 81 percent today, Kaiser found. Over that time, the average deductible has grown from $917 to $1,318 for single coverage. Together, this amounts to a 67 percent increase in deductibles in …

Medicare Itemizes Its $103 Billion Drug Bill

The federal government popped the cap off drug spending on April 30, detailing doctor-by-doctor and drug-by-drug how Medicare and its beneficiaries spent $103 billion on pharmaceuticals in 2013. The data show that 14 drugs cost the federal government and Medicare beneficiaries more than $1 billion each, accounting for nearly a quarter of Medicare prescription drug spending in 2013. Most of those drugs are used to treat chronic conditions that plague the elderly, including diabetes, depression, high cholesterol and blood pressure, …

New FDA Warning About Testosterone and Aging Men

The Food and Drug Administration has a message for older men: Just because your testosterone level has dipped as you age doesn’t mean you need to take testosterone replacement drugs. In fact, the drugs could increase your risk of heart problems. In a new statement, the agency warned about overuse of the popular “low T” drugs to relieve symptoms in men who have low testosterone “for no apparent reason other than aging.” The FDA cautioned doctors about prescribing the medications inappropriately …

Are We Treating Depression When We Should Be Treating Hearing Loss?

Could we be prescribing antidepressants to those who really need a hearing test? A large-scale study published last April based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2005-2010 found a significant correlation between hearing loss and depression, confirming some smaller studies and also anecdotal evidence. What was most interesting was that the link was found only in certain populations. There was no relationship between hearing loss and depression in people who were either culturally deaf or functionally deaf. There was no …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, wrote about the same characters in an earlier book, which will be published in 2015. (Learn more at AARP) 2. Some common medications might be connected with a higher risk of dementia. (Learn more at AARP) 3. “Light” jogging helps you live longer, while running strenuously might not be better than no exercise at all. (Learn more at Discovery) 4. People over 65 might need a little less sleep than …