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Baby Dolls Help Alzheimer’s Patients

Baby Dolls Help Alzheimer’s Patients

It is easy to disregard elderly patients are are inactive or no longer able to hold a conversation. However, there are still deep emotional connections for these folks. Even something as simple as baby dolls help Alzheimer’s patients. Baby Dolls Help Alzheimer's Patients

The doll giveaway — called Pearl’s Memory Babies — is a passion project for Sandy Cambron, a Kentucky resident whose mother-in-law Pearl died of Alzheimer’s. Cambron’s coworker Shannon Blair helped with the Valentine’s Day visit at Park Terrace Health Campus, where her own mom is living with the disease.

“It’s overwhelming,” Cambron told TODAY about the response from the nursing home residents. “It’s just great to know that it’s comforting them.”

“It’s heart-breaking and heart-filling all at the same time because it makes you realize they’re lonely because they’ve lost everything they know,” Blair added. “It’s almost like Sandy was giving them something back that they’ve lost… immediately, they make a connection with it.”

Cambron’s mission started when her mother-in-law developed Alzheimer’s more than a decade ago and had to move into a nursing home. The transition was difficult, so Cambron tried different ways to comfort her. Pearl loved animals and the family thought toy cats and dogs would help, but they didn’t cheer her up. Then one day, Cambron brought in a baby doll.

“She immediately took to it and just loved it and kept it by her side the whole time until she passed,” Cambron said.

After Pearl died in 2008, the family brought baby dolls for all the patients in her nursing home in her memory. Cambron tried to do it as often as she could through the years. Then, she found out Blair’s mother had Alzheimer’s and had recently moved into a nursing home. Just as with Pearl, the transition proved to be difficult, so Cambron offered to provide a doll to Blair’s mom and her roommate.

“I didn’t understand what I was about to experience,” Blair recalled. “My mom’s roommate had such an overwhelming reaction to the doll — it was very emotional.”

Source: Alzheimer’s patients show joy when they receive baby dolls – TODAY.com

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The HealthCare Too model provides for a collaborative holistic care approach to health. We look for articles and knowledge to help consumers and their care teams make holistic health decisions and also shop for the best deals in holistic health so you can find them here! We appreciate the value of surgery and pharmaceuticals but want to make more paths available for your HealthCare Too. See our model for Holistic Health for more information!

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Music Therapy Addresses Trauma

Music Therapy Addresses Trauma

Music Therapy Addresses TraumaAt the time of this article, daughter Emily is in her Junior year at university studying Music Therapy. That might be interesting enough but Emily recently shared an insight about Music Therapy that escapes many. Music Therapy is not about the music but the relationship between client and therapist. Music Therapy addresses trauma as well as many chronic maladies. However, it is not enough to just immerse someone in a roomful of sound. The therapist must be present and fully engaged with the client, much like medicine is more than just scripts for pharmaceuticals. There is a relationship. This article makes much more sense in that light.

Music therapy is an effective intervention for working with traumatized children and adults. It helps reduce anxiety, offers emotional relief, and facilitates life-affirming social interactions, to name just a few of its benefits. The purpose of this article is to shed light on how music therapy addresses trauma for anyone interested in a music career that truly changes lives.

Music therapists have been called upon to support the recovery of individuals and communities following horrific events as well as natural disasters. Settings have included New York City metropolitan area after the 9/11 terrorist attacks; New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina; Umpqua Community College after a mass shooting on campus; various war- and post-war zones; and other disaster recovery situations.

  • According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy addresses trauma by providing:
  • Non-verbal outlets for emotions associated with traumatic experiences• Anxiety and stress reduction
  • Positive changes in mood and emotional states
  • Active and positive participant involvement in treatment
  • Enhanced feelings of control, confidence, and empowerment
  • Positive physiological changes, such as lower blood pressure, reduced heart rate, and relaxed muscle tension

“With individuals who have experienced trauma,” says Jim Borling, director of Radford University’s Music Therapy program, “music becomes an outlet for expressing emotion. Music therapy has a way of letting people know that it is ok to feel what you are feeling. It is ok to acknowledge what has happened.”

Source: Music Therapy Addresses Trauma – Careers that Change Lives

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The HealthCare Too model provides for a collaborative holistic care approach to health. We look for articles and knowledge to help consumers and their care teams make holistic health decisions and also shop for the best deals in holistic health so you can find them here! We appreciate the value of surgery and pharmaceuticals but want to make more paths available for your HealthCare Too. See our model for Holistic Health for more information!

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Does Your Psychological Wellbeing Affect Your HDL Cholesterol Levels?

Mindful of Your HDL Cholesterol Levels

Mindful of Your HDL Cholesterol LevelsNew research suggest that being mindful of your HDL cholesterol levels may have a new meaning.

For many years the link between psychological well-being and lipid profiles has been studied. Initially, it was found that there was a negative correlation between cholesterol and moods. This means that as cholesterol levels increased, mood decreased. Following studies identified links between cholesterol and mental disorders. In this recent study, researchers have examined whether psychological well-being can be used to predict blood lipid profiles.

This study, published in Lipids in Health and Disease, used a theory-based formulation of “eudemonic” well-being, which includes various aspects of well-being such as autonomy, environmental mastery, personal growth, positive relations with others, purpose in life, and self-acceptance. This longitudinal study, called the midlife in the U.S. (MIDUS) study, followed 1,054 individuals for ten years to evaluate the relationship between psychosocial factors and health. The researchers of this study tested if consistently high levels of well-being gave rise to better lipid profiles when compared to individuals with consistently low levels of well-being.

Psychological Well-being Predicts Physical Well-being

The results of this study demonstrated that some individuals showed consistently high levels of well-being over time, while other individuals possessed consistently low or moderate levels of well-being. After adjusting for the effects of demographics, health behaviours, medications, and insulin resistance, the results showed that individuals with consistently high levels of environmental mastery and self-acceptance, two components of psychological well-being, had significantly higher levels of HDL cholesterol and significantly lower levels of triglycerides compared to those individuals with consistently low levels of well-being. However, no link was found between the levels of well-being and LDL cholesterol levels within the results of this study.

Source: Does Your Psychological Wellbeing Affect Your HDL Cholesterol Levels? – Medical News Bulletin | Health News and Medical Research

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The HealthCare Too model provides for a collaborative holistic care approach to health. We look for articles and knowledge to help consumers and their care teams make holistic health decisions and also shop for the best deals in holistic health so you can find them here! We appreciate the value of surgery and pharmaceuticals but want to make more paths available for your HealthCare Too. See our model for Holistic Health for more information!

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Music as Medicine

Music As Medicine

The familiar phrase “music calms the savage beast” usually comes to mind when we think about music and health. Music is, of course, relaxing… for savage beasts or wound-tight humans. But there is more than just relaxation. There is music as medicine. Again, we do not want to get rid of conventional medical practices but if music can replace a drug and still produce results… why not start there?

Now that we have anesthesia, music is used to calm nerves before surgery. Normally we use Valium-type drugs like midazolam, sold as Versed, but it can have a variety of side effects–including sometimes making people even more agitated. So this study was performed to see if relaxing music has a greater anxiety-reducing effect than a standard dose of the drug.  So, they whipped out some Kenny G., and the music worked significantly better than the drug:  lower anxiety scores, lower heart rate, lower blood pressure. Perhaps the first report of any anti-anxiety therapy working not just as good as, but better than benzodiazepine drugs. And the difference in the side effects of relaxing music compared to the drug is obvious. There were none. Soft jazz causes no post-operative hangover, so the researchers suggest we should start using music instead of midazolam.

Music may be effective in reducing anxiety and pain in children as well— undergoing minor medical and dental procedures, helping with blood draws, getting their shots — even reducing the pain of spinal taps, though evidently Mozart is powerless against the pain of circumcision.

But it doesn’t take a randomized controlled trial to demonstrate that listening to music can be relaxing. Tell me something I don’t know. Ok, this I did not know. If you take someone with a latex allergy and inject their skin with latex, they get a big, red, angry bump. But, if you repeat the test after they’ve been listening to Mozart for 30 minutes, they develop a much smaller bump. They had less of an allergic reaction. And if you think that’s wild, Beethoven didn’t work; same reaction before and after. Schubert, didn’t work either, nor did Haydn, or Brahms; both failed to reduce the allergic skin responses. Thus, the reducing effect on the allergic responses may be specific to Mozart. So, Mozart’s looking pretty good—but wait a second, maybe Mozart suppresses the immune system in general?  That wouldn’t be good, so they also injected a chemical that causes reactions in everyone, not just allergic people, and Mozart had no effect.  So it seems to just suppress the pathological allergic reaction, and if that isn’t crazy enough for you, they drew people’s blood after the music and stuck their white blood cells in a Petri dish with a little latex and measured the allergic antibody response. The white blood cells from the person exposed to Mozart had less of an allergic response, even outside the body, compared to cells taken from Beethoven blood. That is cool.

Source: Music as Medicine | NutritionFacts.org

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The HealthCare Too model provides for a collaborative holistic care approach to health. We look for articles and knowledge to help consumers and their care teams make holistic health decisions and also shop for the best deals in holistic health so you can find them here! We appreciate the value of surgery and pharmaceuticals but want to make more paths available for your HealthCare Too. See our model for Holistic Health for more information!

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Turning the Tide on Lifestyle Diseases – It’s time to change our approach

Lifestyle Diseases Need Lifestyle Medicine

An epidemic of chronic disease faces the US. Our leading killer, heart disease, often has its beginning in poor lifestyle decisions. Heart disease, cancer, COPD, diabetes are fairly modern diseases and have really taken hold only in the last century. As with any disease, we need a way to fight. However, the answers for lifestyle diseases are in lifestyle medicine.

Medical specialists have known for decades that up to 80% of conditions that cause premature deaths and disease can be prevented or even reversed by relatively simple interventions.

One has only to sit on a bench in a shopping mall, or under a beach umbrella and observe the mass of humanity around to realise there is a disaster brewing in South Africa, as well as most of the Western world – a disaster in terms of complications of diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, obesity and cancer.

And yet, medical specialists have known for decades that up to 80% of conditions that cause premature deaths and disease can be prevented or even reversed by relatively simple interventions.

Imagine if you saw a headline on CNN or BBC that a new medicine had been discovered that could prevent or reverse diabetes, and at the same time, prevent and reverse the progression of heart disease, reduce weight, reduce painful joints associated with arthritis and significantly reduce the incidence of common cancers.

On top of that those that used it would feel full of energy and vitality, and prolong life by up to 10 years – not just surviving, but really living.  In spite of all these amazing benefits, there were very few side effects – in fact it was safe for children as well as octogenarians, and could even be used by those with advanced heart disease and renal failure.  Would you not be one of the first to rush down to the chemist to order this medicine?

Well the good news is there is such a therapy – but it is not found in the pharmacy, but rather in the supermarket or fresh produce store; together with places where enjoyable exercise is practised, and even in your home where loving support from family is obtained.

Generally, these interventions are not often mentioned by your doctor, because doctors have not been trained in lifestyle medicine, and doctors are generally too busy to take time to discuss your diet or exercise regime or sleep patterns, or your addictive behaviours.

This is where lifestyle medicine comes into play.  In various countries around the world, the speciality of Lifestyle Medicine has become established – as much of a specialty as internal medicine, orthopaedics, paediatrics or cardio-thoracic surgery.

Often there are dramatic results of these interventions – angina symptoms abate within weeks; insulin requirements fall within days; arthritic pains subside within a few days; mass and size diminish progressively; general well-being and sleep patterns improve dramatically within months.

Source: Turning the Tide on Lifestyle Diseases – It’s time to change our approach | South Coast Herald

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The HealthCare Too model provides for a collaborative holistic care approach to health. We look for articles and knowledge to help consumers and their care teams make holistic health decisions and also shop for the best deals in holistic health so you can find them here! We appreciate the value of surgery and pharmaceuticals but want to make more paths available for your HealthCare Too. See our model for Holistic Health for more information!

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Transforming Patient Health Care and Wellbeing Through Lighting

Wellbeing Through Lighting

Wellbeing Through LightingLighting definitely contributes to mood. A well-lit room (not overbearing) can be quite energizing. Appropriately dimmed lights can be restful, relaxing, even romantic. Researchers have known for some time that they can influence wellbeing through lighting and are now looking for ways to use that in healthcare.

The world of health care is changing rapidly and there is increased interest in the role that light and lighting can play in improving health outcomes for patients and providing healthy work environments for staff, according to many researchers. Recently, the Center for Lighting Enabled Systems & Applications (LESA) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, together with the Illumination Engineering Society (IES), sponsored a workshop to explore pathways to define and promote the adoption of lighting systems specifically for health-care environments.

The workshop brought together lighting and human health researchers, healthy-lighting design experts, senior representatives from health-care standards organizations, and health-care providers. The aim of the workshop was to initiate an important discussion among diverse stakeholders on the changes in modern health-care interior lighting applications. The result is the release of a white paper detailing the outcomes and contributions of the participants.

“Today, the field of lighting and health care is undergoing rapid development,” said Robert F. Karlicek Jr., LESA director, who also serves as a professor in the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering at Rensselaer. “As research continues to build the link between lighting spectral power distributions and wellness, LED lighting technology strives to bring new healthy lighting to market. Often commercialization in this capacity happens without establishing the clinical data to demonstrate a value-added benefit for patients or the providers, or a defined return on investment for the health-care industry.”

“It has long been known that lighting can impact human health and wellness,” said Brian Liebel, director of technical standards at IES. “Research continues to refine the precise role of light spectrum, intensity, and timing on the scope of patient outcomes, and on health-care worker productivity. But more research is required to provide the evidence necessary for new, modern standards for lighting systems in health-care and eldercare markets.”

Source: Transforming Patient Health Care and Well-Being Through Lighting | News & Events

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The HealthCare Too model provides for a collaborative holistic care approach to health. We look for articles and knowledge to help consumers and their care teams make holistic health decisions and also shop for the best deals in holistic health so you can find them here! We appreciate the value of surgery and pharmaceuticals but want to make more paths available for your HealthCare Too. See our model for Holistic Health for more information!

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How To Save Lives And $800 Billion (or Sick Care, I Call Your Bluff)

The Triple Aim

triple aimA 2008 article, The Triple Aim: Care, Health, And Cost, offered a new model to fix the US “health care” system. The Triple Aim article recognized that US was spending more yet falling behind other nations:

The recent “Scorecard” from the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System gives the U.S. health care system an overall score of 66 percent, with 100 percent referring to the top decile of known performance. The commission notes that even though U.S. health care expenditures are far higher than those of other developed countries, our results are no better. Despite spending on health care being nearly double that of the next most costly nation, the United States ranks thirty-first among nations on life expectancy, thirty-sixth on infant mortality, twenty-eighth on male healthy life expectancy, and twenty-ninth on female healthy life expectancy.

The Triple Aim has been widely-adopted throughout the US “health care” system and has served as the foundations for such improvement efforts as the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH), Population Health Management, Value Based Care and more. The Triple Aim simply calls for:

  • improving the individual experience of care;
  • improving the health of populations;
  • reducing the per capita costs of care for populations.

Ten Years Later

Let’s take a quick look at the numbers in the Triple Aim’s original 2008 article and see what has happened a decade later:

  • the United States ranks thirty-first among nations on life expectancy… now 39th
  • thirty-sixth on infant mortality… now 40th
  • twenty-eighth on male healthy life expectancy… now 39th
  • twenty-ninth on female healthy life expectancy… now 41st

What about the Triple Aim itself?

  • improving the individual experience of care. Despite the new Amazon-Berkshire-Chase venture and recent political challenges, it’s hard to get a good answer on this. Let’s be positive and go with the OECD’s published study and say American attitude toward the “health care” system is the same in 2017 as 2007.
  • improving the health of populations. There may be some exceptions for particularly well-defined populations; however, the evidence points to worse health in the US, from infant mortality to life expectancy.
  • reducing the per capita costs of care for populationsNot even close. The US spends more per capita now than in 2008, even after adjusting for inflation. The share of GDP that “health care” consumes also continues to rise.

After a decade the Triple Aim has not moved the needle on anything. This is not to say that the Triple Aim is a bad idea (or the Quadruple Aim where we include the wellbeing of clinicians as another Aim). In fact, the Triple Aim has lasted so long because it is a good idea. The Triple Aim is simply impractical for a “health care” system that is really a sick care system. However, claiming that the Triple Aim is front and center has been a magnificent bluff for the status quo sick care.

Sick Care

Sick Care is for the sick… only. There is (with a few exceptions) no reimbursement to keep you healthy. To get paid in the sick care system, clinicians must 1) diagnose you with an appropriate malady (and assign the appropriate ICD10 codes) and 2) provide appropriate treatment for the malady (and submit appropriate CPT or HCPCS billing codes). No diagnosis = no treatment = no payment. Even if the clinician dutiful jumps through all the coding hoops, the payer might still decline payment. There is no money for health care, only “sick care” or “disease management” or “acute care” or something else that requires illness.

The origins of our sick care system are rooted in a time when the need for acute care truly made more sense. Here is a recent article with more thoughts on acute care’s roots.

Now let’s think about the Triple Aim in terms of the sick care model:

  • improving the individual experience of care. No one wants to be a patient. Everyone wants to be healthy. The best individual experience possible is to avoid sick care. The next best is to make any interaction with sick care as brief as possible. There is no money for sick care (i.e., hospitals, clinicians, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, etc.) from healthy people.
  • reducing the per capita costs of care for populations. What is the incentive in a sick care system to reduce the per capita costs? While many hospitals added billions to the bottom line from Wall Street, they still need patients for revenue and with low margins they need more patients and treatments in order to grow. Again, there is no money for sick care (i.e., hospitals, clinicians, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, etc.) from healthy people.
  • improving the health of populations. Now we are talking! OK… how many programs have been funded and implemented to improve the health of a population? Health IT News has an article that lists six population health programs underway today:
  1. Chronic Disease Management: again, one must be sick (with at least two chronic diseases) and even then this has very little clinician adoption.
  2. Wellness and Preventive Health: these are almost entirely awareness programs to stop smoking, lose weight, practice safe sex, etc. that were the subject of so many 1960’s elementary school health films. Of the over $3 TRILLION spent on sick care in 2014, the entire expenditure on Government public health activities was $79 billion, not even a rounding error. (For a blast from the past see video below, Food From The Sun.)
  3. Clinically Integrated Networks: this makes sick care more effective and efficient but does nothing to improve population health and keep them out of the clinically integrated networks.
  4. Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH): this model has had low adoption and questionable impact. Most of PCMH has been absorbed into MACRA. Again, this is focused on making the delivery of sick care more effective and efficient, not improving the health of a population (i.e., keeping them healthy and out of the clinic, with the possible exception of the self care component).
  5. At-risk Payment Structures: not even sure how this gets into a population health program. Does the population get a share of any savings from an Accountable Care Organization so they can stay healthy? Nope.
  6. At-risk cost structure: I’m so confused. Enrolling in a plan where consumers or employers bear more risk? At least the Wellness and Preventive Health has some useful information for consumers.

A blast from the past, Encyclopedia Britanica Films “Food From The Sun”.

An Example — Heart Disease

So how should healthcare work? There is absolutely nothing wrong with making a profit and even becoming wealthy… but there is something wrong with collecting rent in a sick care system and doing nothing for a decade to improve health.

Since February is National Heart Month let’s use the Nation’s Number 1 killer in this simple example. From Lifestyle Medicine: A Brief Review of Its Dramatic Impact on Health and Survival:

Despite major advances in the treatment of cardiac events, CVD [Cardio Vascular Disease] remains the leading cause of death and disability in the US. More than 600,000 deaths (1 in 4) are attributable to heart disease each year, and CVD accounts for more than $70 billion annually (approximately 17% of the total health care expenditure). By the year 2030, 40% of the US population is projected to have some form of CVD, and care will exceed $800 billion, making it our most costly disease.

So it would be a good thing to prevent heart disease, to save money ($800 billion) and lives.

From the same article:

The role of chronic inflammation in its [CVD] development, particularly in the setting of obesity, serves as the foundation for the most current theory. Atherosclerosis appears to be the result of oxidative damage to the endothelial cells that line the vascular system, including, of course, the coronary arterial anatomy. The damage to the endothelial layer of the coronary arteries is a progressive process beginning with inflammation secondary to oxidative stresses that result from the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins, energizing the low-density lipoproteins to penetrate the endothelial layer; this process leads to the subsequent development of plaques, the rupture of which may result in a myocardial infarction or often sudden death.

Dietary components consumed by the Western population promote CVD by directly affecting the gut microbiota. In particular, consumption of red meats, which are high in L-carnitine, elevate serum levels of trimethylamine oxide (TMAO) because of the hepatic conversion of its microbially derived precursor, trimethylamine. Reducing red meat consumption results in decreased TMAO production, which downregulates the macrophagic uptake of oxidation of low-density lipoproteins. Levels of TMAO are reduced in patients who are following an anti-inflammatory diet. Although measurement of TMAO levels is not readily available, future technology may soon develop a test measuring TMAO and allow for the early intervention of individuals at risk of atherogenic threats before they progress to the point of sudden death.

I’m an IT executive and entrepreneur not a medical doctor, but even I see something here. If we could measure TMAO that would allow early intervention for individuals at risk. I also see a link to red meat (sorry, cattle ranchers). I also understand that obesity, blood pressure, etc. are indicators of an elevated risk for heart disease.

The US has spent billions and billions of dollars on Electronic Healthcare Records (EHRs) and retailers have assembled so much Big Data on consumer lifestyle habits. As hospitals move into Accountable Care Organizations, they have a defined census of patients.

From an IT perspective, it is not rocket science to pull together a subset of a hospital’s census with known risk factors (even before we have a test for TMAO). It also is quite possible to marry that subset with data about household grocery purchases (too Big Brother?). Anyway, a hospital can get a good idea of who in its census is on their way to heart disease.

From the same article:

A lifestyle program that incorporates a whole, plant-based diet has been shown to reverse CVD, a feat largely elusive to medications and technologic advances. Numerous studies have demonstrated that lifestyle interventions can have a major impact on the development of, and even the reversal of, CVD. Evidence has accumulated associating a healthy dietary pattern with lower rates of cardiac events, and an extensive review has been presented endorsing the cardioprotective effects of a diet that endorses the increased consumption of plant-based foods. Lifestyle management offers support for the adoption of a diet consisting of mostly plants to prevent CVD. A whole-foods, plant-based diet offers additional protection against CVD because of the beneficial effect that polyphenols have on the endothelial layer of the vasculature, including the negation of oxidation of low-density lipoproteins and its impact on inflammation. Large epidemiologic studies support the fact that those following an anti-inflammatory, plant-based diet may decrease the risk of CVD development by nearly 25%. The promotion of a diet contrary to the standard American diet—embracing the increased consumption of plant-based foods and the avoidance of red meat, highly processed foods, added sugars, salt, and fat—appears to be beneficial in the improvement of cardiovascular health.

So there is clinical evidence that a lifestyle program not only prevents but can reverse CVD. And the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) even has an approved lifestyle program!

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has determined that the Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease meets the intensive cardiac rehabilitation (ICR) program requirements….

Excellent! Hospitals can find candidates who are at risk for heart disease and offer them the Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease! That is health care… reversing a potential disease and keeping people healthy BEFORE they need sick care! So what does it take to get paid for the Ornish Program? Answer: You must be sick:

Aetna considers the Ornish cardiac treatment program a medically necessary alternative to standard intensive cardiac rehabilitation for persons who meet medical necessity criteria for intensive cardiac rehabilitation outlined in CPB 0021 – Cardiac Rehabilitation.

The “medical necessity criteria” lists 10 conditions for which the Ornish program would be approved, such as: “Acute myocardial infarction” (heart attack), heart transplants, and various heart surgeries.

However, sick care does support using statins as a means of prevention:

The new guidelines, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, suggests that people ages 40 to 75 who have one or more risk factors — such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes or smoking that put them at a 10 percent or greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years — should be on statins. The group also said that people with a 7.5 percent to 10 percent risk “may also benefit” but did not definitively recommend they take them. “People in this group should make an individual decision with their doctor about whether to start taking statins,” the task force advised.

In contrast, the ACC and AHA recommend that people with a 7.5 percent or greater risk take the drugs.

Source: The Washington Post, New statin guidelines: Everyone 40 and older should be considered for the drug therapy

So there is guidance to use statins for those at risk even though statins are not curative, are not that effective (NNT=104 to prevent heart attack) and have known adverse effects like diabetes and muscle damage. However, people must wait until there is a potentially fatal cardiac event before they can use the curative Ornish program (NNT=1) that has no reported harm in order to learn how to:

  • Eat nutritious meals
  • Reduce stress with practices like yoga
  • Take up moderate exercise
  • Work to develop love for one’s self and others

When I write articles like this sometimes I just feel like I am sitting at the poker table with all the aces but none of the money! So I am calling your bluff, Sick Care. The Triple Aim and all the associated programs and reforms are for show. You do a great job bluffing with the occasional lifestyle project here or an innovative treatment there but there is no interest in real change.

My Own Triple Aim– The ABCs For Changing To Real Healthcare

So here are my ABCs for changing healthcare for real and I welcome positive dialog, partnerships, whatever to make it happen (yes, even with those in Sick Care who want to see change). Just message me and we can chat.

Awareness: Help consumers understand the benefits and risks of Lifestyle and provide them the means to act (not just brochures and hygiene films). Help producers eliminate harmful ingredients / components from their products and services so they can be rewarded in the market.

Balance: Unless there is an eminent threat to Life that requires immediate medical treatment (e.g., pharmaceuticals, surgery) healthcare should begin with less-risky, less-invasive therapies (e.g., massage therapy, acupuncture, yoga, job coaching, financial management) and continue to escalate (e.g, supplements, manipulation, etc.) until reaching medical interventions. Conventional medicine certainly has its place… but that place need not be Step One. There must be balance and a coordinated whole person approach for healthcare, not only a 7-15 minute interval with a physician and a script for meds.

Costs: We do not capture and measure outcomes, only diagnoses and procedures. There is little or no transparency into costs.There can be no discussion of the Value in Value Based Care without an open understanding of costs and outcomes. We must develop holistic metrics for outcomes (e.g., physical as well as mental and spiritual) and apply those metrics to all therapies (see Balance).

We can make healthcare more inclusive and proactive. Clinicians can be part of patients’ lives in healthcare again and not just employees in a sick care system. Anyone who wants to make money can do so… with new solutions that promote health instead of collecting rent in sick care. There is boundless opportunity… and it starts by calling the bluff.

Be Well!

-Tim

Tim Perry, MPA, MS, CPHIMS, CISSP is the Chief Information Officer of Consumer Health platform HealthCareToo.com. Tim has a deep passion for transforming and improving healthcare that spans two decades. He is blessed with a wonderful wife and two inspiring children. Tim has practiced Tai Chi (Taiji Chuan) for over 15 years and enjoys cooking wholesome (and easy) meals.

Our Model

The HealthCare Too model provides for a collaborative holistic care approach to health. We look for articles and knowledge to help consumers and their care teams make holistic health decisions and also shop for the best deals in holistic health so you can find them here! We appreciate the value of surgery and pharmaceuticals but want to make more paths available for your HealthCare Too. See our model for Holistic Health for more information!

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Can lifestyle medicine reverse heart disease’s progression?

Reverse Heart Disease

reverse heart diseaseThere is hope for those who wish to reverse heart disease. Conventional medicine has many life-saving therapies available. However, integrating a Lifestyle approach can offer not just preventative but curative benefits.

We were taught in medical school that heart disease is a progressive disease by nature, and medications and interventions could only slow down the rate of worsening. But our understanding of the disease has evolved over the years. For many years, we believed that the only major mechanism causing reduced blood flow to the heart was coronary atherosclerosis, or plaque. But now we know that other mechanisms include changes in vasomotor tone, platelet viscosity, collateral flow and plaque hemorrhage. These mechanisms are dynamic and can show measurable changes — for better or worse – in relatively short periods of time.

What does it mean by reversing progression of coronary heart disease?

–Decrease in arterial plaque size

In Lifestyle Heart Trial — a randomized controlled trial blindly assessed by independent observers — showed that there was statistically and clinically significant reversal of coronary atherosclerosis after one year and even more reversal after five years without lipid-lowering drugs. Control group showed significant progression after one year and even more progression after five years.

–Increase in blood flow

Overall, there was a 400 percent statistically and clinically significant improvement in myocardial perfusion in experimental group when compared to randomized control group after five years.

Many physicians believe that their patients will not adhere to comprehensive lifestyle changes but 85 to 90 percent of patients who have gone through the Ornish program have been able to adhere to this program for at least one year. Because the underlying biological mechanisms that affect health are so dynamic and responsive to lifestyle changes, most people feel so much better so quickly that it reframes the reason for making lifestyle changes from fear of disease or dying to joy of living.

Source: Can lifestyle medicine reverse heart disease’s progression? – Midland Reporter-Telegram

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The HealthCare Too model provides for a collaborative holistic care approach to health. We look for articles and knowledge to help consumers and their care teams make holistic health decisions and also shop for the best deals in holistic health so you can find them here! We appreciate the value of surgery and pharmaceuticals but want to make more paths available for your HealthCare Too. See our model for Holistic Health for more information!

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Measuring Social Determinants

Measuring Social Determinants

While while non-clinical factors such as loneliness, nutrition, and housing make up 80% or more of our health, we have no good way of measuring social determinants. Here is an opportunity for improvement that can help many!

The issue of how best to define and measure loneliness was the focus of comments from OPEN MINDS Circle member Scot Adams, the former director of Nebraska Department Of Health and Human Services, Division of Behavioral Health and a senior consultant at the NASMHPD Research Institute. Dr. Adams wrote:

In my experience, one of the issues that caused persons with mental illness to reach crisis point or to seek hospitalization was simple loneliness. No one to share the cold, the darkness, the fear, or the feeling of being unloved. [But] as a concept to build upon, loneliness has a long way to go. The research literature has a variety of definitions about what constitutes loneliness from a measurement standpoint. Without a standard definition, we will be hard pressed to bring this to scale—either in our research or in our interventions.

This is a crucial issue, because if payers and health plans are going to address the issue of loneliness (or any other social determinants of health) estimating the return-on-investment (ROI) for any proposed intervention is essential. This is a process that we’ve written about before: Social Risk & The ‘Value’ Of Health Care, Jumping The ‘Strategy-To-Execution Gap’?, and Social Determinants, Health Care Outcomes, & Health Care Costs – A Look At The Numbers. And to develop that ROI, definitions that allow quantification are essential—definitions of the problem, of the interventions, and of the measures of “return.”

Source: Addressing Social Determinants—The Measurement Challenge | OPEN MINDS

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The HealthCare Too model provides for a collaborative holistic care approach to health. We look for articles and knowledge to help consumers and their care teams make holistic health decisions and also shop for the best deals in holistic health so you can find them here! We appreciate the value of surgery and pharmaceuticals but want to make more paths available for your HealthCare Too. See our model for Holistic Health for more information!

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Need to relax? Try the Himalayan Salt Cave

Himalayan Salt Cave

Himalayan Salt Cave

The Perry Family took a trip to Riga, Latvia a few years ago. Ostensibly it was for the World Choir Games in which daughter Emily was a participant (and her choir did win the Children’s category!). However, Dad had a plan to leverage the trip and check out a spa on the Baltic coast. These spas are world-renown for their breadth of therapeutic alternatives and this was too much to miss. On the appointed day, Dad and son William took a train to the coast. Wow! The spa they visited had so many options: hydrotherapy, massage, steam, reflexology, and the list continues. They topped off the day with halotherapy, sitting in a Himalayan salt cave. It was something of a surprise to see small children as well as older adults relaxing quietly. It is wonderful to see salt caves springing up in the US!

With a rise in holistic and alternative medicine, salt caves have started popping up around the country. Williams installed Inner Journey’s salt cave 2½ years ago.

“I think people are getting tired of pharmaceuticals and drugs and seeking natural ways to heal,” he says. “There is a time and a place for pharmaceuticals and drugs, but I think that more and more people are seeking traditional medicine, holistic medicine.”

According to some, the negatively charged ions in the salt improve respiratory conditions such as asthma, reduce inflammation and detoxify the body, along with other benefits.

“It seems to really benefit people with allergies and asthma, but also arthritis (and) fibromyalgia. A lot of people swear by it,” Williams says and adds that the cave gains popularity particularly during cold and flu season.

Source: Need to relax? Try the Himalayan salt cave in Niles | In the Bend | southbendtribune.com

Our Model

The HealthCare Too model provides for a collaborative holistic care approach to health. We look for articles and knowledge to help consumers and their care teams make holistic health decisions and also shop for the best deals in holistic health so you can find them here! We appreciate the value of surgery and pharmaceuticals but want to make more paths available for your HealthCare Too. See our model for Holistic Health for more information!

Shop HealthCare Too for your Holistic Health needs.