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Amazon.com reached an agreement with the State of California legislature, so the Silver Buzz Cafe Store is back. :-)

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“Green” Blogging

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We believe in protecting our environment, so the Silver Buzz Cafe web site is hosted on a server in a "green", energy conserving data center. 100% of the power for the datacenter is bought from suppliers that use renewable energy sources, such as hydroelectric, windmill and solar plants.

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Silver Buzz Cafe's 2009

We started this blog on April 9, 2009, not knowing where it would lead us. The goal was to provide a place where seniors, their families and caregivers could find relevant articles and information. Many blogs consist of very short posts, sometimes posted several times a day, rather like an extended form of Twitter. Once we started researching articles we decided to go for more substantive ones and that seems to have paid off. [...]

Medical Tourism - Part 2 - Pros and Cons

Yesterday we described the reasons that medical tourism is becoming popular, particularly in Europe and the United States, the kinds of treatment available (almost everything) and who is involved. Today we’ll talk about the advantages and disadvantages of choosing this optional form of health care. Remember that we’re not advocating medical tourism as it is still largely unregulated and there are far too many scams and downright illegal schemes out there. However, as health insurers and some employers have started to use medical tourism as a way to reduce health care costs (a novel form of outsourcing), it’s important to understand the issues. [...]

Medical Tourism - Part 1 - Who, Why and Where?

Deloitte Consulting published a report in August 2008 that estimated that a million and a half would seek health care outside the United States in 2008 and that the number could jump by a factor of ten in the next decade. “Over fifty countries have identified medical tourism as a national industry.” – Wikipedia. Patients turn to medical tourism because it costs less than at home or provides faster access to treatment. In this series we’ll look at the pros and cons of this medical treatment option. [...]

Everyone's Guide to Medical Equipment - Part 1 - Basics

A recent article on how a Big Pharma boosted sales for a new drug described how they strong-armed medical equipment manufacturers into making it possible for every doctor and clinic to afford a bone density measuring machine. That got us thinking about how little we know about the various devices that are used on us when we visit our physicians, clinics or hospitals. In this series, where we’ll cover about one topic per week, we’ll look at equipment that we’re all familiar with, such as thermometers and stethoscopes, common tools, such as X-ray and other imaging devices, and some that are very new or still on the drawing board. [...]

Top 10 Things That May Make You Live Longer

Researchers have found many things that can help inhibit life threatening diseases and conditions, such as heart attacks and strokes. Regular exercise and careful attention to nutrition, such as following a Mediterranean style diet, are known to help. There is also a group of researchers who study people who remain healthy much longer than average to see if they can identify genes, environmental factors and lifestyle habits that may help other people live longer too. Thomas Perls, of the Boston University School of Medicine, has identified ten habits that will help you live as long as possible. [...]

Merry Christmas from Silver Buzz Cafe

Like most people, we’ve been sent a lot of Christmas or holiday videos this year, most of them from Youtube. Some are thoughtful and others are fun. We’ve bought a few together here for your enjoyment. They feature animal musicians, “Nightmare Before Christmas”, Bing Crosby & David Bowie, “Nunc Dimittis” and “Walking In The Air” from “The Snowman”. Merry Christmas Everyone! [...]

Twelve Tips for Staying Fit Over the Holidays

A recent study found that the average American gains between 5 to 8 pounds during the holiday period (Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day). Much of the weight gain is due to lack of exercise and physical activity, rather than overeating. Rob Jewett of Absolute Fitness offers us following 12 tips for staying fit while still enjoying the festivities… [...]

How Big Pharma Hyped a Drug to Profitability

Most people have never heard of osteopenia, a slight thinning of the bones that occurs naturally as women get older. Osteopenia typically doesn’t result in disabling bone breaks, but millions of women in the United States are now taking medication to treat it. Only a few people, mainly physicians and researchers, would have been familiar with it until the early 1990s. One man, working for Merck, changed all of that by promoting bone density screenings that often lead to a prescription (for a Merck drug) to treat osteophenia. [...]

Senate Health Reform Bill Results

The results are still trickling in, but we have some pretty stable results from the Silver Buzz Cafe blog’s poll on the Senate health reform bill and they’re not pretty. First, the demographics. So far, the split between respondents is approximately 22% Democratic, 52% Independent and 26% Republican, with 85% of the total believing that health care reforms are necessary. Males outnumbered females three to one, with 60% of respondents aged 21-55, 30% aged 56-65 and 10% over 65. Not surprisingly, all respondents, so far, are from the United States, with 27% of them being retired. [...]

Continuing Care Retirement Communities Face New Challenges

Bankruptcy rates for Continuing Care Retiring Communities (CCRCs) have historically been around 0.3% per year, which is much lower than the rate for regular nursing homes, where as many as 15% are operating under bankruptcy rules in some states. However, the slump in the housing market has had a knock-on effect and it is now impacting CCRCs. [...]

Health Insurers Win Rounds One and Two - Take Our Poll

Senator Ben “$1,258,660″ Nelson (D-NE) successfully extorted extra Medicaid money for his state and managed to reduce abortion coverage before agreeing that he will cast the vital 60th. vote in favor of the shabby bill that the Senate wants to present as health care reform. The Senate bill replaces the public option (a new, independent insurance exchange, available to everyone) with a plan that is similar to the one that federal employees enjoy. The Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) allows insurance companies and employee associations, such as labor unions to develop health, dental, and allied plans and market them to governmental employees. While close to a public option the new offering suffers from one major flaw – the private insurers can carry on colluding to fix prices and offerings and the government will have little or no control. [...]

Be Careful Before Relying On Naturopathic Medicine

Dr. Andrea D. Sullivan, President, DC Association of Naturopathic Physicians, wrote an article for the Huffington Post recently in which she described a conversation during a White House outreach audio conference. She asked why naturopathic medicine isn’t included in the health reform bills. She reported that the White House officials responded that – “at present the administration’s goals did not include promoting naturopathic medicine, but they might certainly use science-based inquiry to consider the merits of such an approach.” In this article we look at the merits and hidden risks of trying naturopathic treatments. [...]

Advanced Dementia Also Imposes a Physical Penalty

The early stages of dementia can last for years, but life expectancy for patients with advanced dementia is similar to that of those with advanced cancer. Dementia is also a physical illness. It is a progressive, terminal disease that gradually shuts down bodily functions as it attacks the brain. Unfortunately, because the physical symptoms are often overlooked, patients can be subjected to aggressive treatments that may do no good at all, or even harm or overburden the patient. [...]

Health Insurers and Politicians Ignore 17,000+ Deaths

Our elected officials started work on the proposed health insurance reform bill on July 30, 2009. Harvard researchers estimate that 122 Americans die every day as a result of not having health insurance. So, the estimated number of uninsured Americans who have died while our elected officials in the Senate and Congress have been playing politics has now passed 17,000. The health insurance industry is winning out against the wishes of the electorate to have affordable, fair and guaranteed health coverage. They have fought a very successful campaign, spending hundreds of millions of Dollars on advertising and throwing money to politicians. They’ve succeeded in watering down the House bill and turning the Senate bill into something that is almost worthless to everyone but themselves. Their shills in Washington have removed just about every important provision from the Senate bill. Most consumer protections have gone. [...]

African Americans May Be At Greater Risk From Medication-Related Problems

Researchers at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Eshelman School of Pharmacy at UNC Chapel Hill studied a total of 200 (100 white and 100 black) adults 60 years of age and older to look for differences in medication regime adherence between ethnicities. They recruited a total of 200 adults 60 years of age [...]

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