This morning, Dr. Una Makris, from the UT Southwestern Division of Rheumatology, gave an excellent talk on the diagnosis and management of chronic low back pain in older adults, a problem that costs more annually than most chronic medical conditions. In her talk, she noted that a multi-modal approach, with physical therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, pain control, and a host of other methods to deal with this problem. Significant research in the area suggests that we are over-treating and over-spending, without a considerable impact on the burden of this often debilitating condition. In fact, a recent article in the JAMA notes that among older adults with a new primary care visit for back pain, early imaging was not associated with better 1-year outcomes. For more information, check out the articles below:
This week at morning report, we were joined by Dr. Sharon Inouye, Professor of Medicine from Harvard Medical School who specializes in geriatric medicine. She brought to our attention this week’s report on cognitive aging by the Institute of Medicine released this week, “Cognitive Aging: Progress in Understanding and Opportunities for Action”. Key points from the report below:
The brain is responsible for “cognition,” a term that describes mental functions including memory, decision making, processing speed, and learning. As the brain ages, these functions may change— a process called “cognitive aging.”
It is not the same as Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. Cognitive aging is a natural, lifelong process that occurs in every individual.
- Not everyone is the same as individuals have different effects from cognitive aging.
- Cognitive aging should not be synonymous with deterioration – other areas may improve with aging such as wisdom, knowledge, and overall happiness.
- The reports finds 3 areas that can maintain and improve cognition with aging
- Physical Exercise
- Reduced Cardiovascular Risk Factors
- Appropriately Managing Medications and Co-Morbid Conditions That Can Affect Cognition
- Click on the picture below to read the report as well as links for helpful resources for providers and patients!