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Anticholinergic Burden — Tracking Adverse Effects
This article provides an overview of medications with anticholinergic properties that are commonly prescribed for aging patients, the adverse effects of these medications, and how to assess and reduce this burden. Read more »

Becoming ADEPT at Predicting Mortality
In an effort to improve access to hospice care, researchers have developed a new tool to more accurately reflect a six-month prognosis for advanced dementia patients. Read more »

Enhancing Blood Supply — Revascularization Procedure Options for Your Patients
Physicians can choose from several promising revascularization procedures to enhance blood supply following a patient’s heart attack. Read more »
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Physician Recruitment Center
Editor's E-Note
A recent study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society noted the impact of hypertension on older patients’ gait speed. It’s not yet clear why hypertension contributes to slowing gait speed, but researchers suggest it might be attributed to a condition called white matter hyperintensities.

Stephanie Studenski, MD, a physician who specializes in geriatrics and serves as a professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, conducted studies evaluating gait speed as an indicator of longevity. Because of gait speed’s ability to reflect the working of many organ systems, it may contribute to estimating the overall burden on older patients’ disease, serving as a predictor of multiple outcomes. Studenski says elders’ walking speed may eventually be used clinically as a type of vital sign similar to other basic indicators of their health status, such as temperature, blood pressure, or respiratory rate.

Reliable gait speed analysis can help practitioners determine a prognosis for older patients’ life expectancy, according to Studenski. If gait speed decreases, practitioners can take steps to evaluate what has changed and assess the possibility of deterioration in a particular organ system or systems. Based on elders’ gait speed, practitioners can seek a treatment goal to improve walking.

Do you observe your patients’ gait speed as an indicator of their overall health? It may be worthwhile to do so to obtain a more complete picture of their health status, longevity, and quality of life.

Be sure to visit Aging Well’s website at www.AgingWellmag.com. You’ll find news and information that’s relevant and reliable. We welcome your feedback at AWeditor@gvpub.com.

— Barbara Worthington, editor
E-News Exclusive
Hypertension Accelerates Gait Speed Slowing
By Jaimie Lazare

High blood pressure has been linked to the acceleration of gait speed slowing, which is an important prognostic indicator of function and survival in older adults.

From Parkinson’s disease to arthritis, many medical conditions cause elder patients’ shuffling gait or slowed walking. A new study shows that high blood pressure also contributes to the slowing of walking or gait speed.

Caterina Rosano, MD, MPH, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Aging and Population Research, published the findings of a longitudinal cohort study on hypertension and gait speed slowing in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Rosano and her colleagues reported that hypertension slowed walking speed among well-functioning community-dwelling older adults. This association was significant in newly diagnosed patients with hypertension as well as in patients with a history of either controlled or uncontrolled high blood pressure.

Although it is unclear why high blood pressure may lead to gait speed slowing, the researchers of this study suggested that a condition called white matter hyperintensities (WMH) might explain the link between high blood pressure and a decline in gait speed.

Full Story »
Other Aging News
HHS Plans Revision to Medicare's Payment Structure
A new healthcare law requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to provide Congress with a plan to revise Medicare’s payment structures to reflect regional differences in hospital wages and costs, according to an article in The New York Times.

More Elders With Mental Illness
America will experience an acute shortage of professionals equipped to treat geriatric patients with mental illnesses, according to an article in
The Baltimore Sun

Specialists Lacking for Aging Patients
The nationwide geriatrician shortage will find the elder population underserved over the coming decades, but the shortfall will be most acutely felt in rural areas, according to an article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Some Men Feel Worse After Prostate Removal
A Chicago Tribune article suggests that quality-of-life issues surround radical prostatectomy surgery.
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