Zostavax vaccine against shingles, anyone?

Zostavax vaccine is now available in Australia. This vaccine helps to prevent  the viral illness known as shingles. From November 2016 it will be offered free to people between the ages of 70 and 79. Others can be vaccinated by their general practitioner at their own expense. I will be be the first in the queue. I’ve had shingles. I don’t …

Playlists and the cuddle hormone

Playlists of favourite music and the hormone oxytocin featured in a Catalyst* program broadcast last week on ABC TV. In the program, men and women with brain damage were transformed as they listened to music. People with brain damage are not the only ones affected in this way. Music, it seems, boosts oxytocin whenever we listen to music we like.

Ageism and over-prescribing

Ageism, like sexism, knows no boundaries. The health system is a prime example of ageism in action. This week an article in the Medical Journal of Australia’s Insight online caught my eye. (‘Polypharmacy a shared duty’, by Charlotte Mitchell.) The article quotes a recent study in Queensland and Victoria. Subjects were 1220 people over 70. …

Karen Hitchcock – On Caring for the Elderly

Karen Hitchcock’s essay Dear Life: On Caring for the Elderly is compassionate, respectful and beautifully written. As a study of ageism in our society, it is also seriously scary. The author is a physician who works in a major Melbourne hospital. Her patients are mostly elderly. She has a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Writing and is …

Dementia and selective memory in fiction

There are many causes of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. In Australia, more than 332,000 people currently suffer from Alzheimer’s alone. As the population ages, the incidence of dementia also is expected to increase. As a person’s symptoms of dementia increase, more and more short-term memory is lost. The person will live much more in the …

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