from the world's big
By 2050, the U.S. Alzheimer's population will double. We're not prepared.
The Alzheimer's Association says its new analysis and surveys "should sound an alarm regarding the future of dementia care in America."
- By 2050, the number of Americans over age 65 with Alzheimer's is expected to rise from 5.8 to 13.8 million.
- A new report from the Alzheimer's Association highlights how the already-stressed U.S. healthcare system is not prepared to meet this surge.
- There's currently no cure for Alzheimer's, which is a degenerative and potentially deadly form of dementia.
A new report from the Alzheimer's Association forecasts a looming health-care problem: The number of Americans with Alzheimer's disease is expected to double by 2050, and unless things change, there will be a severe shortage of health-care professionals able to care for these dementia patients.
There are two key factors driving the problem: an aging U.S. population and a lack of health-care professionals trained to care for Alzheimer's patients. There are currently about 5.8 million Americans ages 65 and older living with Alzheimer's disease, which is about 10 percent of that age cohort. By 2050, that number is expected to hit 13.8 million. This surge poses a problem, given that the U.S. health-care system already struggles to treat people with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.
"According to the National Center for Health Workforce Analysis, there was already a shortage of geriatricians in 2013, and although a modest increase in supply was projected by 2025, it was not expected to meet demand," the report states. "As a nation, we need to triple the number of geriatricians who were practicing in 2019 to have enough geriatricians to care for those 65 and older who are projected to have Alzheimer's dementia in 2050."
The front lines of diagnosing & treating Alzheimer's
A broad array of practitioners help to treat Alzheimer's, including physicians, nurses, neuropsychologists, and allied health care professionals such as occupational and physical therapists and home health aides, the report notes. Primary care physicians are generally considered to be on the "front lines" of treating and diagnosing the disease. But over-relying on primary care physicians comes with costs.
The report notes:
- The vast majority of older Americans diagnosed with dementia never see a dementia care specialist and are overwhelmingly diagnosed and cared for by non-specialists.
- 85% of people first diagnosed with dementia were diagnosed by a non-dementia specialist physician, usually a primary care physician.
- More than half of PCPs say there are not enough specialists to receive patient referrals.
The Alzheimer's Association
What's especially alarming is that some primary care physicians aren't comfortable being on the front lines. The survey found that 39 percent of PCPs reported "never or only sometimes being comfortable personally making a diagnosis of Alzheimer's or other dementias." That's a problem, considering Alzheimer's treatments are more beneficial if the disease is diagnosed early.
The Alzheimer's Association
The Alzheimer's Association notes that an early diagnosis allows patients the option to start taking medication for symptoms, make lifestyle changes, and participate in clinical trials. What's more, diagnosing Alzheimer's as early as possible would likely save the U.S. trillions in medical and long-term care costs for the degenerative disease, which can cause memory loss, cognitive impairment, hallucinations, and eventually death.
So, how can the U.S. prepare for the influx of Alzheimer's patients, besides continuing to search for a cure? The Alzheimer's Association report recommended several policy strategies that could help meet future demand:
- Offer scholarship and loan forgiveness programs, which incentivize people to attend medical and nursing schools, and to practice in rural areas.
- Boost educational funding: "For example, federal funding of departments of family medicine at U.S. medical schools is associated with an expansion of the primary care workforce."
- Support programs that build capacity in primary care: "One example is Project ECHO® (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes), a highly successful tele-mentoring program for health care providers developed by the University of New Mexico. Project ECHO has been shown to improve primary care for multiple diseases, including hepatitis C606 and complex diabetes."
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Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Many of the most popular apps are about self-improvement.
Emotions are the newest hot commodity, and we can't get enough.
Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Building a personal connection with students can counteract some negative side effects of remote learning.