Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Have You Read My Interview on Smashwords?

I'm excited!

A revised interview with me has just been published at Smashwords. It's an in-depth Q&A interview. If you get a chance, click: Interview With Author Robert Tell.

I would welcome your comments on this blog, and your suggestions for additional questions you'd like to see answered in the interview. I promise to answer them.

Best wishes,
Robert Tell


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Should the Drug Zofran Be Avoided During Pregnancy?

A provocative question and one for which this writer has no expertise to share with you. However,  Krystal Blake, of the Birth Injury Guide has studied the matter and has prepared the following guest article for today's post. As always with such matters, each person is cautioned to gather all the available facts and to make an informed decision that makes sense to her and her doctor.

Here's the article:

"What are the Potential Side Effects of Zofran? 

Zofran, also known as Ondansetron, is a prescription medication that is 
manufactured by the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Zofran1 
was originally developed to help mitigate the effects of chemotherapy and 
radiation that cancer patients often suffer from. This drug can effectively block 
the actions of the body that trigger nausea and vomiting. In addition to being 
used to treat nausea in cancer patients, it was also used and prescribed to treat 
nausea in patients post-operatively. 

Since its development, however, Zofran has also been used “off-label” to treat 
women for morning sickness. Typically prescribed during a pregnant woman’s 
first trimester, it has been given to millions of women across the country for 
years. 

What Does “Off-Label” Mean? 

The term off-label drug use2 has several meanings. It may involve prescribing a 
currently available and marketed drug for a symptom or disease that the Federal 
Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved, or it may involve prescribing a 
marketed medication to a patient population, dosage, or dosage form (e.g., 
intravenously, orally, topically, etc.) that does not have FDA approval. 
Zofran has been prescribed off-label to a patient population that the FDA has not 
approved use for as there are not sufficient studies or tests that have been 
conducted in the respective population to show that it is safe for this particular 
use.

How Does Zofran (Ondansetron) Work? 

Zofran, a powerful anti-nausea and vomiting drug, belongs to a class known as 
the 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor 3 antagonists that block the effects of 
serotonin.3 More commonly referred to as 5-HT3 antagonists or setrons, this class 
of drugs acts as receptor antagonists at a subtype of serotonin receptor found in 
the vagus nerve and other areas of the brain. These receptor antagonists are 
extremely effective in treating nausea and vomiting in patients undergoing 
chemotherapy, radiation, or post-operatively to help with the side effects of 
anesthesia.

Drugs used for chemotherapy often create serotonin in the gut which causes 
nausea and vomiting. With the help of these serotonin antagonists, the body is 
able suppress nausea and vomiting by preventing serotonin from activating and 
sensitizing the gut.4 

The FDA and Zofran

Zofran first entered the U.S. market in 1991 and it was FDA approved for the 
uses previously mentioned. In 2011, the FDA administered a warning about the 
drug indicating that there had been links between Zofran use and QT interval 
prolongation, or effects on the electrical activity of the heart.5 Shortly after, there 
were also warnings regarding the increased risk of birth defects developing in 
children whose mothers had taken Zofran during pregnancy. Among the most 
universally known birth defects associated with the drug are cleft lip and cleft 
palate, in addition to heart defects, including Atrial Septal Defect (ASD).6

There have been a number of studies regarding the drug’s potential effect on 
pregnant women, but additional studies are warranted. The CDC has issued a 
warning of the possible connection between Zofran use and birth defects, and 
the FDA has continued to condone prescribing drugs off-label. However, many 
people believe that more studies are needed in order to obtain a clear answer on 
the risks associated with taking the drug during pregnancy.7"

For further information check out their link at: 

http://www.birthinjuryguide.org/birth-injury/causes/medication/zofran/

Footnotes:
1 http://www.drugs.com/zofran.html
2 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3538391/
3 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3470505/

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Is the Acura TLX a Self-driving Car?

What's a car review doing in a blog on aging and caregiving? Good question. However, when you consider the independence we get from the ability to drive, the potential loss of that freedom can be terrifying to older adults.

And yet, according to AAA, "seniors are outliving their ability to drive safely by an average of 7 to 10 years." Anyone who has had to face taking the keys away from a parent or spouse knows how awful that experience can be for all concerned. And someday it may be our turn.

In growing recognition of the need for seniors to maintain their mobility independence, all sorts of alternatives to driving are becoming available. This is good news. One option that comes to mind is the growing network of ITN programs around the Country. There are others too.

Another promising alternative being tested and developed is the Google self-drivingcar.  It's not the only one and I, for one, hope to see the day when I can buy one. Which brings me to the title question:

Is the Acura TLX a Self-driving Car?

As a new owner of this wonderful luxury car, I can say "not quite." But there are several TLX models and the Six Cylinder version with the Advance Package may be the closest thing to a self-driver on the market today.

The Advance Package contains (among other things): Road Departure Mitigation System, Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Mitigation Braking System, Forward Collision Warning System, Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keeping Assist, Blind Spot Info System, Rear Back Up Camera with Cross Traffic Alert, and an Automatic Brake Hold Feature.

Wow! Many other cars have some of these features and, perhaps, one other has most of them. However, it was the Advance equipped Acura TLX that was singled out by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety as actually avoiding an accident in their 25 mph Safety Test for High-speed Autobrake. The IIHS gave the car a 2015 Top Safety Pick + rating and categorized it as Superior for Front Crash Prevention.

Many of the thirty-something to fifty-something auto reviewers have ignored this feat. Their criticisms have focused on comparing torque and acceleration to the German luxury breed. And some don't like the styling. But we seniors with our aches and pains couldn't care less about 0-60 acceleration times, paddle shifters, manual transmissions, and power spurts away from a stoplight.

No, what we care about is comfort, safety and driver assist technology, things the TLX has in abundance. My right leg cramps up when I have to keep my foot on the brake pedal for long periods to prevent the car from creeping forward. Like in heavy traffic. The TLX Automatic Brake Hold Feature eliminates this problem.

My hand begins to ache when forced to grasp the steering wheel for hours on a long trip, but when the TLX Lane Keeping Assist steers the car it allows for a very loose grip (and for brief periods of no grip). And when this feature is combined with the Adaptive Cruise Control system, I can go for many miles without ever touching the accelerator pedal, only occasionally steering myself, and relaxing while the TLX self-steers, self-brakes and self-accelerates whenever a vehicle pulls in front of me. In effect, at such times, the car is indeed actually driving itself.

Finally, to me, styling is very subjective. I like the look of the TLX. On the road, I'm hard pressed to tell the difference between look-alike cars such as the Ford Fusion, Lexus ES 350, Hyundai Genesis, and many others. You might not like the TLX's understated and unique design as much as I do, but I don't think you'd confuse its appearance with any of its competitors.

As for luxury, I traded a Mercedes E320 for this Acura. I loved the Mercedes and I love the TLX, which I find to be the equal of the Benz in most things and superior in many ways, including ride quality, handling, noise mitigation, fuel consumption, and much, much, more.

All of this might not convince the baby boomers, millennials, and Generation X-ers but, for those of us with the physical issues associated with aging bodies, the Acura TLX is as sweet as they come.




Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Enjoying A Senior Lifestyle

From childhood to your senior years, you'll transition through numerous lifestyles. When it's time to enjoy a senior living lifestyle, you'll be able to apply many of the life lessons you've learned along the way to the adventures that await. Over the years, you may have compiled a mental list of things you want to do now that you have the extra time and new-found freedom. If you've been too busy to give much thought to how you want to enjoy your retirement years, you can get some amazing ideas and inspiration from sources such as Retirement Living Magazine and friends who are already actively enjoying their retirement years.

Local Activities

When your schedule was full with work and family obligations, you might not have had the time to participate in nearby activities and local places of interest. Now that you're retired, do some exploring around your area to discover interesting attractions.

Get reacquainted with your home

Your retirement lifestyle can make leisurely mornings a reality rather than a dream. An afternoon outdoors with a good book and a cold drink is an activity you can enjoy now. There's an abundance of great movies just waiting for you to watch. Invite some friends over for a marathon movie night. Without a work schedule, you don't have to be concerned with getting to bed on time so you can be alert for work the nest day.

Travel

In addition to exploring activities near your home, you may want to travel to distant destinations that you've dreamed of visiting. If you're undecided about where to go, take some time to read about the many travel packages and destinations designed especially for seniors. Look at the variety of travel modes you have available to you. Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone by taking a cruise, experiencing RV travel or flying to your destination. If you're uncomfortable traveling alone, you can arrange a trip with a tour group.

There's a lot to look forward to in your retirement years. This is a great time to get reacquainted with old friends and make new friends. Finding a balance between a relaxed lifestyle that includes lazy days and no definite schedule to abide by and the freedom to explore new places and experience new adventures is the key to happy, fulfilling and rewarding retirement years. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Why RN's Become Nurse Practitioners

Solidify a Job in the Medical Field with a Nurse Practitioner Degree

If you are a registered nurse, but want to treat the patients and diagnose illnesses, you will want to take the next step and become a nurse practitioner. Becoming a nurse practitioner allows you to become closer to people and really help them feel better in all facets of their life. It gives you the benefits of being similar to a doctor, without the extra educational costs.

Rising Health Needs

More people need the care of a medical professional due to the growing number of obesity and cancer cases. The need for nurse practitioners is growing, which makes it a real solid field to go into. Physicians are becoming overwhelmed with the increased number of patients, so nurse practitioners are used to visit with the patients first. With the assistance of practitioners, the wait times for patients are reduced, which makes everyone happy.

Affordable Care

The cost to become a doctor is great, so the cost is deflected to their patients. Many people are having trouble paying for medical care because of this, and have selected walk-in clinics and other clinics that are run by nurses. In fact, there are over 250 clinics throughout the country, which offer affordable care and vaccinations. Nurse practitioners fill the need for more affordable care.

In addition to providing cheaper care for the patient, they make less than physicians do. It is because of this fact that clinics can remain open. By switching over to fewer physicians and more nurse practitioners, clinics lower their overhead costs. When clinics can stay open, people can get the help they need.

Become an Advocate

Nurse practitioners have the great ability to get to know their patients well. You can treat a person from childhood to senior years. You are the go between them and the physician, which makes you their advocate. You have the time to listen to their stories and help them get the help they need. Over 60-percent of people, receive their preventative care from a nurse practitioner rather than meeting with the physician directly.

Depending on where you work, your employer may help with the cost of a nurse practitioner degree. The work you can do will continue to grow as specialization is possible.

Robert Tell, Author

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Diabetes & Food Allergies--Two Interesting Programs!

As part of our mission, we will continue to bring health related information to the readers of this blog.

Here are two health related sites we recently encountered:

1) Help show your support for diabetes awareness and claim your wristband:

Click:    Diabetes Awareness!

2) A magazine for living with food allergies:

Click:    Living Without

Full disclosure: We discovered these messages as we surfed the web and haven't had a chance yet to try them ourselves. So we can't recommend them based on personal experience. If you do check them out, please use your best analytic judgement in deciding whether or not to take advantage of these offers.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Why Caregivers Need Respite Care!

Every day, people who take care of their aging loved one’s face many challenges and difficulties. Being a caregiver is a demanding job, and no one person is strong enough or prepared enough to handle it alone. Because your health is important to you and for your loved one’s well-being, you should get good help when you need it. The essence of good respite care, like the care you can get at companies such as Synergy Home Care, is to give you the break you need to restore your energy, enhance your sense of balance and relieve stress. 

Because it can be challenging to take care of a senior loved one, you can choose from many respite care options available to give you the assistance you might need. This helps to restore your energy and allows you to be a responsible caregiver for your senior loved one. The principles of respite care are all the same, which is to ease the burden of caregiving with someone else and have some time for you. 

Respite care starts with the realization of your needs and your loved ones needs. Knowing your needs for frequency, type, skills and location of the respite care is important so that you get the proper respite. Consider what you need the most. Is it regular time off? Is it the need for help with transportation? Make a list of your daily activities, and write down the times and places you need assistance most. 

Your loved one’s needs, preferences and abilities are important as well. Does your loved one need assistance with walking, eating or taking medications? Is it socializing that your loved one needs most? Does he or she need physical or mental exercise? When you know the needs, you can find the right option for respite care. 

Adult respite day care centers are intended for elderly adults who can’t live independently or are isolated and lonely. The environment is cheerful, safe and supportive. Adult day centers have several planned activities to promote your loved one’s well-being. In most cases, there is a schedule for nutritious meals, and they do accommodate special diets. 

If you have a loved one who you take care of around the clock, respite care might be the perfect solution for you.