Saturday, December 19, 2009

Calorie Intake Linked To Longevity And Cancer Development

Cutting consumption of glucose, the most common dietary sugar, can extend the life of healthy human cells and speed the death of precancerous cells, reducing cancer's spread and growth rate.

According to findings reported by researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, reducing calorie-intake can benefit longevity and help prevent diseases like cancer that have been linked to aging.

The researchers conducted tests by growing both healthy human-lung cells and precancerous human-lung cells in laboratory flasks. The flasks were provided either normal levels of glucose or significantly reduced amounts of the sugar compound, and the cells then were allowed to grow for a period of weeks. Restricted glucose levels led the healthy cells to grow longer than is typical and caused the precancerous cells to die off in large numbers.

Every year some 1.4 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer. It ranks as one of the leading factors for the need for costly long-term care according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance among aging seniors.

Two key genes were affected in the cellular response to decreased glucose consumption. The first gene, telomerase, encodes an important enzyme that allows cells to divide indefinitely. The second gene, p16, encodes a well known anti-cancer protein.

Healthy cells saw their telomerase rise and p16 decrease, which would explain the boost in healthy cell growth, the researchers explained. The research into the links between calorie intake, aging and the onset of diseases related to aging is thought to be a first of its kind given that it used the unique approach of testing human cells versus laboratory animals.

The study has been published in the online edition of The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. The research was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Monday, December 14, 2009

People Who Look Young For Their Age Tend To Live Longer

People who look young for their age enjoy a longer life than those who look older than their years.

According to researchers, doctors frequently use perceived age as a general indication of a patient's health. They note however, that there is little research upon which to base validity of the belief.

Researchers at the University of Southern Denmark, examined whether perceived age is linked with survival. They investigated important age related traits, such as physical and mental (cognitive) functioning and a molecular biomarker of aging (leukocyte telomere length).

Telomere length indicates the ability of the body's cells to reproduce. Shorter length is associated with a host of diseases related to aging, lifestyle factors and death.

A total of 1,826 Danish twins aged 70 years and over underwent physical and cognitive tests in the spring of 2001. Their faces were also photographed. Assessors rated the perceived age of the twins from their facial photographs. The assessors did not know the age range of the twins. In addition, each twin of a pair had their age assessed on different days.

Following the assessments, death records were used to track the survival of the twins over a seven year period. Perceived age was significantly associated with longer life survival. This was true even after adjusting for chronological age, sex, and the environment in which each pair of twins grew up. Perceived age, adjusted for chronological age and sex, also correlated with physical and cognitive functioning as well as leukocyte telomere length.

Also, the bigger the difference in perceived age within a twin pair, the more likely it was that the older looking twin died first. The age, sex and professional background of the assessors had no relevance to any of the results.

The researchers concluded that perceived age based on facial photographs is a strong biomarker of ageing. It predicts survival among people aged 70 years and over and correlates with important functional and molecular age related characteristics.

Report gathered by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.

Monday, December 7, 2009

How To Respond To The Passage Of CLASS

It appears that any final efforts to remove the CLASS Act from the Senate Health legislation have failed and thus it looks almost assured that we are witnessing the birth of a long-term care insurance plan that will be offered by the federal government.

Inevitably, the new plan will be included within newspaper and magazine stories that help American consumers understand what it all means to them. That will likely generate questions from people who already purchased long-term care insurance. It will inevitably bring up questions from those who are looking into it. It will certainly impact employers who will be the ones offering the federal plan to employees.

The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance will develop succinct and factual talking points for consumers. The federal plan will provide benefits to many who would otherwise never be able to secure long-term care insurance protection.

It will likely also confuse many and will give people a false sense of security or a reason to put off planning for long-term care. That would be an enormous mistake.

We will be soliciting input from thought leaders and from the various insurers. Undoubtedly they will want to be prepared to handle calls from inquiring customers.

If you have suggestions or wish to share statements you have seen, that would be most welcome.

Send them on to: Jesse Slome, E-mail:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Study Examines Long Term Home Health Care Utilization

December 1, 2009 - Some 7.5 million Americans currently receive long-term care at home because of an acute illness, long-term health condition, a permanent disability, or terminal illness according to a new report.

That compares to only 1.5 million in nursing homes and 1.1 million who reside in assisted-living communities according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance which teamed up with Homewatch CareGivers to conduct a study examining trends in long-term health care and the utilization of associated support services.

"Most people incorrectly associate long-term health care with skilled nursing care in a facility when the vast majority of care takes place at home," explains Jesse Slome, Executive Director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. “It is clear that the people in today’s society prefer treatment for chronic conditions and issues related to aging in their own home rather than in a residential facility.”

One aspect of the study sought to compare individuals with long-term care insurance policies with those without insurance coverage. The findings indicated that individuals with long-term care insurance receive significantly more home care, and thus can stay in their homes longer. The study found that 70.6% of those covered by long-term care insurance received an average of between five and seven days of care each week, while only 35.1% of those without insurance received similar care as often.

"When possible, home is almost always the preferred setting for people who require care," says Leann Reynolds, president of Homewatch CareGivers. “This has been a clear and growing trend for more than a decade, as more and better home services have become available. The vast majority of people want to receive support care in their homes in order to maintain independence and quality of life for as long as possible.”

Possessing insurance to pay part or all of the cost of home care services enabled individuals to receive care at home for longer periods of time. The study found that 41.2% of those with insurance received care for longer than one year; compared to 29.7% of those without coverage.

"The study confirms what we've long suspected, that a basic long-term care insurance plan costing less than $1,000 a year may provide sufficient coverage for those who want care at home and still have the ability to transition to more costly skilled facilities should the need arise," adds Slome.

According to the Urban Institute, a nonprofit founded in 1968 that conducts research on social and economic issues to foster sound public policy, 21.3 percent of the frail older population receives paid home care services and it projects this will increase to 22.3 percent by 2030 and 25.5% by 2040.

"It is vitally important for individuals to recognize the increased likelihood of needing care at some point in their lives, and to plan for that inevitability," concludes Reynolds. “Having sufficient financial resources or the protection of long-term care insurance are the prime factors for all of us who want to stay in our homes and receive care for as long as possible.”

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Founded in 1980, Homewatch CareGivers is the largest, most experienced international provider of full-service home care for people of all ages, including seniors, children, veterans, the chronically ill, and those recovering from medical procedures. In-home care services are personalized for each client and customized care plans are administered through an international network of 111 owners with 181 territories. Founded in 1998, the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance is the national trade organization established to educate Americans about the importance of long-term care planning. For more information visit the organization's Consumer Information Center or to access a free guide to reducing the cost of long-term care insurance click on this link: .