Saturday, November 2, 2019

2019 MAIA Review: Day Two

Highlights from MAIA on Friday, August 9, 2019.

I have a few notes that I haven't shared from the Twelfth Annual Mid-American Institute on Aging and Wellness (MAIA) held on the campus of University of Southern Indiana.

Attendees include members of the tristate region's healthcare organizations (including USI students, faculty, and staff member), family care partners (formerly called "caregivers"), and individuals of all ages from IN, KY, IL and beyond seeking to improve the quality of their life by learning more about wellness across the lifespan.

Many healthcare professionals attending earn CME credits (continuing medical education), but a good portion of those present are not healthcare professionals; they are community members who are pro-active about their physical, financial, social, and emotional health.

These are details about the second day of this event, which took place on Friday, August 9, 2019. Find details about the first day, Thursday August 8th, by following this link.

Ron Weatherford in USI's Carter Hall
As people made there way to Carter Hall, they had the opportunity to practice a few minutes of Tai Chi as directed by Ron Weatherford.

Published in 2014 and 2017.
The morning keynote address was delivered by journalist and author Greg O'Brien.

He gave an engaging speech about living with Younger-Onset Dementia. previously called Early Onset Dementia (EOD).

His work as a journalist gives him the ability to articulate a lot of emotions and concepts about living with this disease. His family heritage and personality gives him the ability to do so with a lot of wit and wisdom; he comes from a long line of animated storytellers.

For those seeking to learn more about O'Brien, he has a well-regarded book, On Pluto, which has been republished in 2017 in an expanded edition.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

CRP: Biomarker of Health and Longevity

Photo by Benoit LERAY.

I have grown more curious about the technical information related to blood tests I undergo during my annual check up.

My curiosity was sparked a few years ago when I read a summary of a study about biomarkers. That lead me to read the scientific article behind the summary.

I decided that as a gerontologist and a person who lives in an aging body that I should learn about each of these 18 biomarkers of health and longevity.

This week, I have been reading about the biomarker highly sensitive c-reactive protein, abbreviated hs-CRP or CRP.

Note: I am not a medical professional. This post serves only to increase awareness. If you have a question about your CRP levels or any element of your health, see a licensed medical professional as soon as possible. 

CRP is a protein made by your liver that is present in your blood. Elevated levels of CRP show the body is responding to an inflammation, indicating that something isn't right.

Highly sensitive c-reactive protein (hs-CRP) is a non-specific marker of disease. 

Optimum levels of CRP are 1.0 mg/L or lower
Moderate levels of CRP are between 1.0 and 3.0 mg/L
Concerning levels of CRP are 3.0 mg/L or higher

CRP is not just an indication of heart problems, but high levels do correspond. Consequently, emergency room doctors and cardiologists use this test to find evidence of cardiovascular disease or a heart event.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Fall (Prevention) Festival

Evansville West Side Nut Club Fall Festival 2002
Photo by alandberning
For several reasons, I strengthen my core muscles by doing exercises. Every week, I attend three strength training classes, two dance classes, and one yoga class.

Core strength is vital to posture, balance, rising from a seated position, and preventing lower back injury.

After going to the gym in Evansville:
Strong is the new pretty.
A few years ago while living in Wichita, I had a history of poor alignment in my lower back.

I have had my spine adjusted several times.

I finally went to a physical therapist who helped me identify various muscles in my torso (core) and taught me how to strengthen them through several sets of exercises.

I received this guidance from a physical therapist in 2015. My back has not gone out of alignment since then.

Because of my poor bone health, I am very focused on fall prevention.

It's important for people of all ages and levels of health. However, it's especially important to me because I have very frail bones.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Vanden Bosch and Scheidt Review Films about Aging

Photo by Flicktone via Creative Commons
I teach at USI within the College of Nursing and the Health Professions as a gerontologist with a decade of experience.

However, I spend over three decades previous to that as a student and teacher in the field of humanities.

As a result, I am hyper vigilant about how storytelling informs my understanding of aging.

Storytelling is not limited to the work of raconteurs.

People consume stories through a variety of media: print, film, art, music, dance, and so on.

Humans are primarily storytelling animals.
"It has been said that next to hunger and thirst, our most basic human need is for storytelling." Kahlil Gibran
Fortunately, the editors of the premiere scholarly journal The Gerontologist (published by the GSA: The Gerontological Society of America) have for several years included reviews of films that focus on issues of aging.

The Gerontologist now makes their film reviews viewable without a subscription* 

You can now access these reviews about films that depict aging issues. How?  By going to this page on Terra Nova Films. 
GSA Film Reviewers and Their Editor
The reviews published by The Gerontologist are penned by Jim Vanden Bosch (Terra Nova Films) and Rick Scheidt (Kansas State University). Helen Kivnick (University of Minnesota) edits their reviews.