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Today's Geriatric Medicine
E-Newsletter    November 2023
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Editor's E-Note

Adding to the havoc that tick bites can create is alpha-gal syndrome—an underrecognized meat allergy associated with tick bites that can have severe consequences. According to the CDC, many providers are not familiar with the condition.

In addition to reading our e-newsletter, be sure to visit Today’s Geriatric Medicine’s website at www.TodaysGeriatricMedicine.com, where you’ll find news and information that’s relevant and reliable. We welcome your feedback at TGMeditor@gvpub.com. Follow Today’s Geriatric Medicine on Facebook and X, formerly known as Twitter, too.

— Kate Jackson, editor
In This E-Newsletter

Certification Board for Diabetes Care and Education | CDCES Certified | Earn the most recognized credential in diabetes care and education | Learn more: https://www.cbdce.org/become-certified/
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Tick-Bite Associated Meat Allergy

The CDC reports that between 2010 and 2022, there were more than 110,000 suspected cases of alpha-gal syndrome (AGS) identified. However, because the diagnosis of AGS requires a positive diagnostic test and a clinical exam, and some individuals with AGS may not get tested, it is estimated that as many as 450,000 people might have been affected by AGS in the United States, according to two reports issued recently by the CDC in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Studies show that many health care providers in the United States are not familiar with an emerging and potentially life-threatening allergic condition called AGS, also known as the red-meat allergy or the tick bite meat allergy. Of those aware of AGS, knowledge about diagnosis and management is low.


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In one study, 1,500 family/general practitioners, internists, pediatricians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants across the country were surveyed, and results showed that nearly one-half of respondents had not heard of AGS, approximately one-third reported that they were “not too confident” in their ability to diagnose or manage patients with AGS, and 5% felt “very confident” in their ability. In another study, CDC researchers examined laboratory test results from 2017 to 2022 from a laboratory that, until August 2021, was the primary commercial lab offering testing in the United States. More than 300,000 specimens were submitted by health care providers on behalf of patients with presumed clinical suspicion of AGS, and more than 30% were positive.

Other Geriatric News
Off-Label Drugs Overprescribed for Dementia
When dementia patients exhibit hard-to-manage symptoms such as aggression and psychosis, physicians often prescribe antipsychotic medicals off label. Time reports on the problematic overuse and inappropriate use of such drugs.

Training for Family Caregivers
Family caregivers are rarely prepared to meet the care needs of family members in crisis. But a new proposal from CMS aims to authorize Medicare payments to health care professionals to train informal caregivers who carry out certain tasks, such as medication management, according to a report in KFF Health News.

Rejuvenating Aging Brains
According to Science News, a single molecule may help rejuvenate aging brains and it appears to do so in three different ways. Studies of three separate means of stemming cognitive decline associated with aging show that each involves a protein called platelet factor four. Reports on the three research groups appear in Nature Aging, Nature, and Nature Communications.

What’s Stress Got to Do With Alzheimer’s Disease?
According to research at the Karolinska Institutet, people between 18 and 65 years of age were more likely to be diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease if they had a previous diagnosis of chronic stress and depression. Science Daily reports on the study published in Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy.
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