New Worlds: Patient's rights, Inflamed Gums and Dementia

This week in health news.

Lab technician using microscope (photo credit: INGIMAGE / ASAP)
Lab technician using microscope
(photo credit: INGIMAGE / ASAP)
Centers for patients’ rights established
The Health Ministry has decided to establish a national network to help patients get their entitlements. The first center was recently opened at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center.
Many patients experience much red tape in getting legitimate help from government ministries, local authorities and the health system. As a result, they don’t get what they are entitled to under the law. The State Comptroller’s report of 2015 stated that many state resources are not transferred to the public because they do not know about or claim their rights.
The ministry decided to embark on an initiative to establish a system of centers for implementing patients’ rights, led by its quality and service administration. The system will operate in general and psychiatric hospitals and assist patients proactively in providing information; clarifying rights; submitting applications, appeals and appeals; and monitoring the cases until the rights are exercised in full. The help will be provided by professionals and volunteers.
The rights centers are the result of extensive cooperation among representatives of the entire health system, including hospital social workers.
More centers will be established at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, Ziv Medical Center in Safed and the Kfar Shaul Mental Health Center in Jerusalem, followed by two-dozen more in the coming years. Dr. Anat Zohar, head of the ministry’s quality and service administration, said: “We are very excited about this development, as we have worked hard to realize the dream of establishing a center for patients’ rights.”
Inflamed Gums and Retinal Degeneration
Many clinical studies link chronic periodontitis (CP) to various systemic disorders, and, more recently, to age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is a leading cause of irreversible vision loss in elderly.
One of the major organisms causing CP is Porphyromonas gingivalis, which has been identified with the ability to invade epithelial, fibroblast and dendritic cells. Hyun Hong, a predoctoral dental student at the Dental College of Georgia), and Dr. Pachiappan Arjunan, the principal investigator from Dental College of Georgia, said: “This is the first study to demonstrate the link between oral pathobiont infection and AMD pathogenesis and that the bacteria can invade human retinal-pigment epithelial cells and elevate AMD-related genes that might be the target molecules for both diseases.”
Helping in Hadera
A new and unique service has been introduced at Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera. The idea is to accompany the patient throughout the hospitalization, while providing emotional support and help for the patient to keep a step ahead.
The new service, which began as a pilot in the Orthopedic B department, is now run by volunteers who retired as professionals in the fields of health and education. Nava Clements, a retired clinical social worker, designed the service to reduce uncertainty and anxiety by answering patients’ questions.
Today, there are three volunteers in the department, all of whom took a course familiarizing them with the various systems in the hospital. The hospital management is closely monitoring the program and hopes to expand it to additional departments in the coming year.
Slow-waling elderly and Dementia
Older adults who have slower walking speeds may have increased risk for dementia, according to British researchers who published their study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
There are an estimated 47 million people around the world with dementia, a memory problem significant enough to affect one’s ability to carry out routine tasks. The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, but other forms exist as well.
Because there’s currently no cure for dementia, it’s important to know about the risk factors that may lead to developing it. For example, researchers have learned that older adults with slower walking speeds seem to have a greater risk of dementia than those with faster walking speeds. The researchers examined information collected from the English Longitudinal Study of Aging.
The study included adults aged 60 and older who lived in England. In their study, the researchers used information collected from 2002 to 2015. They assessed participants’ walking speed on two occasions in 2002 to 2003 and in 2004 to 2005 and whether or not the participants developed dementia after the tests from 2006 to 2015. They then compared the people who had developed dementia with those who had not.
Researchers discovered that of the nearly 4,000 older adults they studied, those with a slower walking speed had a greater risk of developing dementia. People who experienced a faster decline in walking speed over a twoyear period were also at higher risk for dementia. People who had a poorer ability to think and make decisions when they entered the study – and those whose cognitive (thinking) abilities declined more quickly during the study – were also more likely to be diagnosed with dementia.
The researchers concluded that older adults with slower walking speeds, and those who experienced a greater decline in their walking speed over time, were at increased risk for dementia. But, the researchers noted, changes in walking speed and changes in an older adult’s ability to think and make decisions do not necessarily work together to affect the risk of developing dementia.