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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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People With Late Life Depression May Be Helped By Telemedicine

It’s a sad fact that depression can have a huge impact on a person’s quality of life, happiness and productivity. Declining health and functioning, multiple life changes and diminished personal resources can often result in an elderly person developing geriatric depression. A new study suggests that telemedicine can be successfully used to address the mental health needs of the elderly in community settings. [...]

$8M Grant Will Fund Senior Care Telemedicine Study

An $8m rural health initiative grant from the Leona and Harry B. Helmsley Trust in New York will fund a three year test of telemedicine and sensor technology to help frail seniors stay healthier and delay institutional care. It will involve about 1,600 clients in 40 rural cities. [...]

Proposed Device Could Reduce Deaths On Rural Roads

There were over 2300 road traffic accidents that resulted in fatalities in the United Kingdom in 2008 and 60% of them occurred on rural roads. The proportion is approximately the same in the United States, where 57% of road fatalities occur in rural areas, even though only 27% of the overall population live there. The first people to arrive at the accident scene will probably not be trained in triage, so a team of clinicians, computing scientists and physiologists from the University of Aberdeen, in Scotland, is developing a device that would provide medical advice and support for injured persons. [...]

Major Players Announce Year-Long Telehealth Study

Telehealth, the delivery of health-related services and information over telecommunications lines or networks, will become increasingly important as our population ages, particularly in rural areas. The prime goals of telehealth systems are to improve access to quality care while helping lower health costs. Now GE Healthcare®, Intel Corporation® and Mayo Clinic® have announced that they will conduct a yearlong research study to determine whether or not home monitoring of patients with chronic diseases will reduce hospitalizations and emergency department (ED) visits. [...]

Everyone's Guide to Medical Equipment - Part 14 - Advanced Surgical Instruments

If you ask a layman which instrument they associate with surgery they will most likely think of the scalpel, a sharp bladed instrument used for cutting tissue. There is a surprisingly wide variety of scalpels, so we’ll look at conventional ones before covering more advanced instruments that use heat, lasers or particle beams. Some of these instruments are computer controlled and a whole new field of robotic surgery has opened up in the past twenty five years, starting with very simple procedures and leading to recently successful kidney transplant operations. [...]

Everyone’s Guide to Medical Equipment – Part 7 – Laboratory Equipment

In articles 1 through 6 of this series we looked at the equipment that you could expect to find in your physician’s bag and office and the medical monitors that you’re most likely to encounter in clinics and hospitals. Have you ever wondered what happens after you hand over those samples for analysis, or have blood drawn? Find out in this article on medical laboratory equipment. [...]

New Technology May Reduce Risks for Fall Prone Seniors

We’ve written about the dangers that falls pose to seniors in many articles in the past, including one on “Avoiding and Dealing With Falls” and others on the dangerous side effects of some medications in this respect. People with poor eyesight and dementia are also more prone to falls, especially when they are moved from home, or a nursing home, to hospital. Ninety percent of hip fractures occur in people over fifty and eighty percent of them are women. A European project has developed a wearable, wireless device equipped with motion sensors to monitor people who are susceptible to falls. It can also help people decrease their risk of a fall. [...]

Become a Real Virtual Volunteer

Online “virtual” volunteering has been around for over thirty years. Most charities have an Internet site and communicate with contacts via email. Some also have forums and Wikis to ease the flow of information. It’s also possible to conduct webinars and other meetings online with free tools such as DimDim. However, most people tend to think of regular volunteers, who donate their time and expertise at a particular time and place, or by going out into the community, rather than being able to participate from home and without having to travel. In this article we look at how to become a virtual volunteer. [...]

Everyone's Guide to Medical Equipment - Part 5 - Medical Monitors

In this four articles of this series we looked at the various types of medical equipment and then covered the items that you will find in every physician’s bag or office. Some of it could be used (not for diagnosis, of course) by anyone, but many items, such as stethoscopes, require special training. Just about every kind of equipment covered so far could now be hooked up to a network to provide data for telehealth purposes. In this article we’ll look at medical monitors, electronic devices that measure a patient’s vital signs and display the data, often transmitting it over a monitoring network. They generally display physiological data continuously on a computer screen, usually with data channels shown along a time axis. [...]

Everyone's Guide to Medical Equipment - Part 4 - Starter Kit C

So far in this series of articles on medical equipment we’ve been looking at the basic equipment that your physician uses. We’ve covered some of them in more detail, specifically: the blood glucose sensor; clinical thermometer; injection syringes; ophthalmoscope; otoscope; reflex hammer set and sphygmomanometer (blood pressure meter). Some of them, such as the clinical thermometer, can be used by anyone, connected to a network and used in a telehealth system. Others, such as the reflex hammers and sphygmomanometer, require special training. That’s also true of the remaining three pieces of equipment that we’ll cover today: the stethoscope; tourniquet and tuning forks. [...]

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. [...]

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. [...]

The Silver Tsunami - Should We Be Worried?

The average age of the populations of most countries is aging quite rapidly. The countries with the most rapidly aging populations are in Asia and Europe, with Japan heading the list. Attention to the issue in the United States has been largely driven by discussions relating to the funding of programs such as Medicare and Social Security, both of which need to be adjusted to cope with a growth in the number of beneficiaries while the taxpayer base diminishes. After talking about the issue with friends and family, the overall impression that most of us get from discussions relating to our aging population is that we’re headed for catastrophe, with health services collapsing under the pressure of too many patients per physician, too few professional caregivers, too little tax money to sustain essential services for seniors and so on. The problem is largely being presented as one that we’ve never confronted before. That’s true to some extent, but only in one respect – we’re living longer than previous generations. [...]

Our Government Run Health Services – Part 8 - Summary

In this series of articles we’ve looked at the following US government run health care systems: Indian Health Service (IHS); (State) Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); Medicaid; Medicare; Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP); Military Health System (MHS/TRICARE) and the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Some of these programs are run by the federal government and others are largely run by the states with some federal funding and oversight. There is also a wide range of ways in which care is provided, ranging from programs with their own facilities, such as the IHS, MHS and VHA, to ones such as the FEHBP that recommend private plans that use their own network or regular provider facilities. This article compares the features of the various programs and summarizes the lessons that may be learned from them. [...]

Our Government Run Health Services – Part 7 – Veterans Health Administration

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is a government-run military veteran benefit system responsible for administering programs of veterans’ benefits for veterans, their families, and survivors. Although we shall focus on medical benefits here, it also administers burial benefits, disability compensation, education, home loans, life insurance, pensions, survivors’ benefits, vocational rehabilitation and survivors’ benefits. The Veterans Health Administration can prove that it is doing an excellent job and its beneficiaries overwhelmingly agree. Note its scores on the American Customer Satisfaction Index, which were in the low 80s, as compared with the mean of 68 from the private health insurance sector. It’s often held up as America’s model health care system and all of the indicators signal that it deserves that high regard. In this article we’ll look at the background to the VHA, its strengths and weaknesses. [...]

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