Review your Medicare plans by December 7

By: Barbara Albert

Medicare’s open enrollment for drug and health plans is underway until Dec. 7, which means now is the time to review your choices for 2018. At a minimum, look at next year’s terms for your current plan, because what works for you now may not be the case as of Jan. 1.Each year, plans can change their premiums, copays/coinsurance and networks, as well as covered drugs and... READ MORE

Climbers reach for new heights

By: Jamie Lee Pricer

For Holly Summers, indoor rock climbing started as a mother-daughter activity.“My daughter was climbing indoors regularly, and I wanted to be able to do it with her,” said Summers of Ellicott City. Though her daughter is now in grad school, Summers, 58, can be found regularly scrambling up the climbing walls at the Roger Carter Community Center.She probably had a leg up when she ... READ MORE

Medicare to pay for PAD treadmill therapy

By: Carla K. Johnson

Three times a week, Rita Driscoll steps onto a treadmill at a Minnesota hospital under the eye of a rehab therapist. She walks until it hurts — pushing her limits, walking faster and adding steeper inclines.“I’m not giving up my legs,” said Driscoll, who walks as part of a study. “Hopefully it will keep me away from surgery and keep me walking and... READ MORE

Studying vitamin D’s effect on fall risk

By: Carol Sorgen

Falls are the leading cause of injury and accidental death in adults over the age of 65. Every year, more than 33 percent of seniors fall in the United States. Every 15 seconds, an older adult is treated in an emergency room for an injury related to a fall.Clutter, inappropriate footwear, poor balance, distractions and tripping hazards can all contribute to a stumble or fall, potentially... READ MORE

Strategies to cope with the loss of a pet

By: David R. Topor

More than a third of American households own at least one pet, and people often have close bonds with them. In one study, 13 of 16 people said they would give a hard-to-get lifesaving medicine to their pet over non-family people.The death or loss of a pet can be a traumatic experience and result in grief and bereavement. The loss is unique in a number of ways. While pets may die naturally,... READ MORE

Are artificial sweeteners bad for the brain?

By: Dr. Robert H. Shmerling,

Sometimes it seems like people trying to choose a healthy diet and watch their weight can’t catch a break.Past studies have linked the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks with cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and obesity. So it’s easy to understand the appeal of diet soft drinks and other artificially sweetened beverages.If you drink two cans of Coke per day,... READ MORE