Medicare officials tentatively plan to restrict the use of a controversial Alzheimer’s drug to only those patients participating in clinical trials, while the Department of Health and Human Services looks into lowering the monthly Medicare Part B premium. Meanwhile, covid confusion still reigns, as the Biden administration moves, belatedly, to make more masks and tests available. Joanne Kenen of Politico and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet and Rachel Cohrs of Stat join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.
The federal government is putting up $7.2 million for a study into the correlation between war trauma and dementia in Vietnamese immigrants. Oahn Meyer, an associate professor at the University of California-Davis who is leading the study, wonders whether her mother’s dementia is linked to trauma she suffered during the Vietnam War.
High-tech tools ease caregivers’ stress but can raise sticky privacy questions and concerns about cost.
The condition can be an early signal of Alzheimer’s disease, but not always. Other health concerns could be causing thinking or memory problems, and the new drug, Aduhelm, would not be appropriate for those patients.
The makers of Aduhelm, a drug approved last month despite concerns raised by experts about its effectiveness, have launched a website and ads designed to urge people who are worried about their memory to ask doctors about testing. But some health advocates say it is misleading because some memory loss with aging is normal.
The potential benefits of Aduhelm are small, its effectiveness is not certain, and even the FDA Thursday shifted its guidance on who should get the drug. But physicians are dealing with an onslaught of interest from patients and their families, and figuring out which patients are best positioned to be helped by the drug will be difficult.
Criminal charges filed against two officers who injured a Colorado woman with dementia don’t address the fact that police often lack the skills to effectively deal with suspects with mental disabilities.
The federal approval of a controversial drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease has reignited the debate over drug prices and the way the Food and Drug Administration makes decisions. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden seeks to gain goodwill overseas as he announces the U.S. will provide 500 million doses of covid vaccine to international health efforts. Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times and Joanne Kenen of Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, Rovner interviews Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, the new administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. And to mark the podcast’s 200th episode, the panelists discuss what has surprised them most and least over the past four years.
When the covid pandemic hit, Dr. Rebecca Elon was thrust into a new role, primary caregiver for her severely ill husband and her elderly mother. “Reading about caregiving of this kind was one thing. Experiencing it was entirely different,” she says.
Long before they receive a dementia diagnosis, many people begin to mismanage their finances as their memory, organizational skills and self-control falter.