Archive for December, 2006

John Huston movie from the Aleutians

re:

“”Report from the Aleutians,” directed by John Huston, follows the daily life of American soldiers serving in the Aleutian Islands, which extend in sequence off the shores of Alaska. Despite being cold, barren, and generally disagreeable, the Aleutians held military bases of immense strategic value in the Pacific theater of World War II. The film describes the geographic importance of the islands, and provides a portrait of daily wartime operations, such as attack planning and bombing raids, that take place at the bases. Huston pays particular attention to life on the island of Adak in the wake of the Battle of Dutch Harbor, culminating in a first-person perspective of an actual American bombing run against the Japanese.

Producer: John Huston Audio/Visual: sound, color
Creative Commons license: Public Domain


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EPA community self-assessment

The EPA and its partners have developed a self-assessment tool for communities to build healthy communities for active aging. The tool provides resources for communities to create a healthy community for active aging.

Click on the hyperlink to each question to get to the more useful parts. For example, http://epa.gov/aging/bhc/smart/ question01.htm Otherwise, the “self-assessment” isn’t useful as a workbook.

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veterans tribal cemetery bill

This will be great news. The cemeteries won’t be huge national cemeteries. But now the developing or improvement of veterans’ gravesites can be supported. Let’s hope the law also applies to tribal governments in Alaska (all but one do not have lands under their jurisdiction, i.e., are not “Indian country”)

A bill that would enable American Indian veterans to be buried on their tribal lands passed Congress on Saturday and awaits President Bush’s signature to become law.

The Native American Veterans Cemetery Act, a bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Tom Udall, D-N.M., allows tribes to apply for grants to establish, expand or improve tribal veterans’ cemeteries on trust land. Currently, tribal governments are not eligible for money from the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the bill would put tribes on the same level as states.

December 12, 2006

Feline Alzheimer’s disease

I knew that older dogs can get a type of dementia, but wasn’t aware that cats may, also (never had a cat before to age with). A couple of points the researchers raise–

  • longer life increases the chances of age-related changes (in anything) and
  • good diet, mental stimulation, and companionship improve quality of life
    IVQ friends
  • while obvious are well worth remembering (for feline and hominid; oh, and the dog, too.

    see also

    This is a press release, so I am reprinting it in its entirety.

    Study shows cats can succumb to feline Alzheimer’s disease

    Ageing cats can develop a feline form of Alzheimer’s disease, a new study reveals. Scientists at the Universities of Edinburgh, St Andrews, Bristol and California have identified a key protein which can build up in the nerve cells of a cat’s brain and cause mental deterioration.

    In humans with Alzheimer’s disease, this protein creates ‘tangles’ inside the nerve cells which inhibit messages being processed by the brain. The team says that the presence of this protein in cats is proof that they too can develop this type of disease.

    By carrying out post-mortem examination of cats which have succumbed naturally to the disease, scientists may now be able to uncover vital clues about how the condition develops. This may eventually help scientists to come up with possible treatments.

    Scientists already thought cats were susceptible to dementia because previous research had identified thick, gritty plaques on the outside of elderly cats’ brain cells which are similar to those found in humans. But, by pinpointing this second key marker, the Edinburgh-led team says we can be sure that cats can suffer from a feline form of Alzheimer’s.

    Dr Danielle Gunn-Moore, at the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, said: “This newly discovered protein is crucial to our understanding of the ageing process in cats. We’ve known for a long time that cats develop dementia, but this study tells us that the cat’s neural system is being compromised in a similar fashion to that we see in human Alzheimer’s sufferers. The gritty plaques had only hinted that might be the case – now we know.

    “The shorter life-span of a cat, compared to humans, allows researchers to more rapidly assess the effects of diet, high blood pressure, and prescribed drugs on the course of the disease. However, we also need to understand more about our geriatric cats for their own benefit, so we can slow down the degeneration the disease brings and keep them as happy cats for as long as possible.”

    “As with humans, the life expectancy of cats is increasing and with this longer life runs the greater chance of developing dementia. Recent studies suggest that 28% of pet cats aged 11-14 years develop at least one old-age related behaviour problem and this increases to more than 50% for cats over the age of 15.”

    Experts suggest that good diet, mental stimulation and companionship can reduce the risk of dementia in both humans and cats. Dr Gunn Moore explained: “If humans and their cats live in a poor environment with little company and stimulation, they are both at higher risk of dementia. However, if the owner plays with the cat, it is good for both human and cat. A good diet enriched with antioxidants is also helpful in warding off dementia, so a cat owner sharing healthy meals like chicken and fish with their pet will benefit them both.”

    Dr Frank Gunn-Moore, at the School of Biology, University of St Andrews, said: “This work relied on a team effort with the different skills and expertise from our different institutions. It has given us an insight into the molecular changes that are occurring in the degenerating brain. From this knowledge we are now currently trying to develop new and novel treatments which will be able to help both cats and humans”.
    ###

    The findings of the study are published in a recent edition of the Journal of Feline Medicine.

    Public release date: 5-Dec-2006
    Contact: Linda Menzies, Linda.Menzies AT ed.ac.uk
    44-131-650-6382
    University of Edinburgh


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    Old women step forward as ‘martyrs’

    There isn’t much in the news story to explain why this seems to be the only choice for the elderly women to feel useful. Certainly we have had elderly patriots throughout history, including those who take up killing others. But given the wealth of experience, suddenly lost, that had been available for alternative action, everyone loses twice, it seems.

    A 70-year-old blew herself up in a Hamas attack. She may be just the first of many elderly recruits

    …The women put up their own resistance, gathering as human shields around the mosque to help the militants escape. ‘I am 72, says Watfa, ‘but by doing this I felt 20, young and useful and ready to act.’ …Watfa was bruised, as was 70-year-old Fatma Najar, hit by a bulldozer. Three weeks later, Najar blew herself up near Israeli soldiers, wounding two…. It is shocking to see an old woman carrying an M16. Some of her 70 grandchildren and great-grandchildren play beneath the picture.

    ‘I know at least 20 of us who want to put on the belt,’ said Fatma Naouk, 65. ‘Now is the time of the women. Now the old women have found a use for themselves.’

    Sandra Jordan in Beit Hanoun, Gaza
    Sunday December 3, 2006, The Observer

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    Elder neighbor in crisis?

    Liz Taylor answers a question many people have about family, friends, the person down the hall who no longer seems to be taking care of themselves.

    What should I do to help — if I have a responsibility — and how long do I wait for the son to act before I become concerned enough to take action?

    A: So many good questions, a few good answers. Let’s start with the basics.

    …it takes a village to help older people to thrive. This is why: Your neighbor’s brain is misfiring and causing her great harm…. But let’s say there is no son, or he can’t get her to see a doctor — what then? Two alternatives.

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    Condom amulets

    A Little Red Hen is an interesting elder blog about a variety of issues, especially peace, politics, yarnlife after 60. A special topic is AIDS awareness among older people. This is also a topic of HelpAge International (see sidebar).

    The condom amulets are a useful idea. I’m sure folks out here could add their designs based on traditional basketweaving and the crocheted recycled shopping bags techniques.

    Despite stereotypes, many older women [and men] are sexually active. If you talked to your recently divorced friend about these amulets, could a casual conversation lead to sex education? It’s worth a try….

    CONDOM AMULETS in techniques other than knitting. Left to right, copper wirecloth (similar to kitchen scrubbing pads), recycled fine brass metal container for chocolates strung on colored telephone wire, and black wirecloth (as for window screens).

    WORLD AIDS DAY is DECEMBER 1…Would you wear one as a neckpiece to alert friends and neighbors that HIV in women over 50 is on the rise?


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