Looks very random this week but both these stories are significant to older people for two very different reasons. So what are they?
Firstly, this month Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), who have advocated for many years for the adoption of a Global Plan of Action on Dementia by the World Health Organisation (WHO) have announced that one is currently being considered and may be adopted in May 2017. The draft plan, the Global Plan of Action on the Public Health Response to Dementia 2017-2025, is now being developed by WHO Member States. The plan recognises the impact of dementia, by committing to take practical steps to encourage progress in the seven areas of dementia awareness, risk reduction, diagnosis, care and treatment, support for care partners and research. It contains targets for each area that individual governments who are members of the WHO should meet by 2025. For more details about this important international development see:
Secondly, this week also saw headlines claiming that taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) like ibuprofen and Diclofenac may increase your risk of cardiac arrest by a 1/3rd. While this makes for good/bad headlines it is quite a worrying claim when you consider the number of older people who take it as part of prescribed pain relief and the numbers who buy it as an Over-the-Counter (OTC) medication. So that you can relieve the anxiety this might cause some of the people you may look after, (or perhaps yourself) it is always worth taking a look at Behind the Headlines one of my favourite places to send my students. In relation to this headline as always, the team at Behind the Headlines have produced a really useful critique of the research the headlines are based on. To read this got to Ibuprofen Claim and see what they say.
The lead author of the study, Professor Gunnar Gislason has been quoted saying that
“The findings are a stark reminder that NSAIDs are not harmless and should be used with caution and for a valid indication. They should probably be avoided in patients with cardiovascular disease or many cardiovascular risk factors.”
That will, if it becomes a recommendation to GP’s, have an impact on many older people.
However for some of my readers that will mean the end of one hangover cure and back to the Irn Bru.