Take steps now for Medicare Part D needs

By: Humberto Cruz

I wrote in a previous column that, as of the first of August, the month I turned 65, I was covered by Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (doctor services). But I held off applying for Part D (the prescription plan) because I take no medications now.Many readers wrote to advise me emphatically: "Don't wait too long!""Can you guarantee you will not develop a... READ MORE

Cataracts: what we do and don’t know

By: Dr. Celeste Robb-Nicholson

Q. Is it true that cataracts are made of calcium? Can I do anything to avoid getting a cataract? What about diet?A. A cataract is a vision-clouding area in the lens of the eye. About half of all people ages 65 to 74, and 70 percent of those ages 75 and over, develop cataracts, which are the leading cause of blindness worldwide.Fortunately, surgery is safe and effective. In places like the... READ MORE

When nothing helps you to quit smoking

By: Thomas Lee, M.D

Q. I’m an 84-year-old woman who recently had stents placed in two coronary arteries. My doctors have long told me to quit smoking. I have tried, but just can’t.I’ve tried the patch and Chantix, but neither worked. Support groups aren’t for me. I have cut back, but that’s as far as willpower goes.Is there some news about current or future approaches that might... READ MORE

The good bacteria we can’t do without

By: Bruben

Antibiotics can temporarily upset your stomach, but now it turns out that repeatedly taking them can trigger long-lasting changes in all those good germs that live in your gut, raising questions about lingering ill effects.Nobody yet knows if that leads to later health problems. But the finding is the latest in a flurry of research that raises questions about how the customized bacterial... READ MORE

How to fight four primary causes of aging

By: Deborah Kotz

Benjamin Franklin once declared that “we get old too soon and wise too late.” Applying a little wisdom, though, may keep you from aging before your time.“Only about 5 to 20 percent of the aging process has to do with our genes,” said Jonny Bowden, a nutritionist and best-selling author of numerous books, including his recently released The Most Effective Ways to Live ... READ MORE

Older adults need higher-dose flu shots

By: Lauran Neergaard

It’s flu-shot season, and for the first time health authorities are urging nearly everyone to get vaccinated. There is even a new high-dose version for people 65 or older.What a difference a year makes: Crowds lined up for hours for scarce shots during last fall’s swine flu pandemic, when infections peaked well before enough vaccine could be produced. This year, a record vaccine ... READ MORE