Posted by: Laurence Harmon on 7/31/2008 | 0 Comments

Medicare is financed by a portion of the payroll taxes paid by workers and their employers. It also is financed in part by monthly premiums deducted from Social Security checks.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is the agency in charge of the Medicare program. But you apply for Medicare at Social Security, and we can give you general information about the Medicare program.
Medicare has four parts:

  • Hospital insurance (Part A) that helps pay for inpatient care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility (following a hospital stay), some home health care and hospice care.
  • Medical insurance (Part B) that helps pay for doctors' services and many other medical services and supplies that are not covered by hospital insurance.
  • Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans are available in many areas. People with Medicare Parts A and B can choose to receive all of their health care services through one of these provider organizations under Part C.
  • Prescription drug coverage (Part D) that helps pay for medications doctors prescribe for treatment.

You can get more detailed information about what Medicare covers from Medicare & You (Publication No. CMS-10050). To get a copy, call the Medicare toll-free number, 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), or go to If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you may call TTY 1-877-486-2048.

Medicare and Medicaid.  These are two different programs. Medicaid is a state-run program that provides hospital and medical coverage for people with low income and little or no resources. Each state has its own rules about who is eligible and what is covered under Medicaid. Some people qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. For more information about the Medicaid program, contact your local medical assistance agency, social services or welfare office.

Posted by: Laurence Harmon on 7/31/2008 | 0 Comments

"As you age, this upper layer of the skin gets very thin and flattened," Elaine Jacobson, Ph.D., (pictured at left), a biochemist at the University of Arizona and Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson, explained to Ivanhoe. "Now you've lost your protection that normally keeps the sun from penetrating deep into the skin."

Researchers at the University of Arizona Cancer Center, researchers developed a new drug aimed at preventing the most common nonmelanoma skin cancer -- actinic keratosis. The drug, from the vitamin niacin, is called myristyl nicotinate. It works with receptors in the upper layers of the skin to give it greater protection from dangerous UV rays.

"The amount of ultraviolet light you can be exposed to before you get a sunburn is increased 10 to 20 percent," Dr. Jacobson said.

The drug comes in the form of a skin cream. In two preliminary clinical trials, researchers say it proved safe and effective, strengthening the skin's barrier against sunlight.  "In a sense, myristyl nicotinate is giving you a biological SPF," Dr. Jacobson said.

Dr. Jacobson says the drug is not designed to take the place of sunscreen. A national FDA supervised clinical trial is next to see if the drug can prevent skin cancers in people who have already had the disease.


Contact Dr. Jacobson at;


Posted by: Laurence Harmon on 7/30/2008 | 0 Comments

The Aberdeen University researchers say the drug targets the build-up of a specific protein in the brain.

Alzheimer's experts were optimistic about the results, but said larger trials were now needed. Patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease were given either 30, 60 or 100mg of the drug or a placebo.

The 60mg dose produced the most pronounced effect - over 50 weeks there was a seven-point difference on a scale used to measure severity of dementia.  At 19 months there was no significant decline in mental function in patients taking the drug, the researchers said.

Imaging data also suggests the drug may be having its biggest effect in the parts of the brain responsible for memory.

The link between clumps or "tangles" of protein inside nerve cells in the brain and Alzheimer's disease was first made over 100 years ago.

Later shown to be made up of a protein called Tau, the tangles build up inside cells involved in memory, destroying them in the process.

Rember (methylthioninium chloride) is the first treatment specifically designed to target the Tau tangles.

Other treatments for Alzheimer's tend to focus on combating a waste protein in the brain, beta-amyloid, which is known to form hard plaques. The latest work suggests targeting Tau may produce better results.

Methylthioninium chloride is more commonly used as a blue dye in laboratory experiments.

Professor Professor Claude Wischik discovered it by accident 20 years ago, when a drop in a test tube led to the disappearance of the Tau protein he had been working on.   "We have demonstrated for the first time that it may be possible to arrest the progression of this disease by targeting the tangles which are highly correlated with the disease," he said.  "We did an analysis of the effect size at 24 weeks and at 50 weeks compared to the average effect size of the current treatments and it was about two and a half times better," he added.

Larger trials of the drug are planned to start in 2009, and researchers are also investigating whether the drug has a role in prevention of the disease in the first place.

Professor Clive Ballard, head of research at the Alzheimer's Society, said: "This is a major new development in the fight against dementia. It is the first realistic evidence that a new drug can improve cognition in people with Alzheimer's by targeting the protein tangles that cause brain cell death. This first modestly sized trial in humans is potentially exciting.  It suggests the drug could be over twice as effective as any treatment that is currently available."

Rebecca Wood, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Research Trust, said: "In this exploratory trial, rember reduced the decline in blood flow to parts of the brain that are important for memory.  "This bodes well but we need more human trials to assess the treatment's possible side effects."

She added the fact the trial was funded by a pharmaceutical company highlighted the lack of funding for Alzheimer's research in the UK.

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