Patricia Yarberry Allen, M.D. is a Gynecologist, Director of the New York Menopause Center, Clinical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Assistant Attending Obstetrician and Gynecologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She is a board certified fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Allen is also a member of the Faculty Advisory Board and the Women’s Health Director of The Weill Cornell Community Clinic (WCCC). Dr. Allen was the recipient of the 2014 American Medical Women’s Association Presidential Award.

After 30 years, the buzz might last till Christmas: A week before the premiere of The Women, Diane English’s remake of the Claire Booth Luce classic, the buzz is everywhere — and so are the corporate sponsors.  Dove International has announced that the company “has partnered with Hollywood film The Women to inspire and educate them about a wider definition of beauty.”  Dove, whose Pro-Age cosmetics line made such a splash earlier this year, is also producing “exclusive content,” including a DVD-extra style film  “The Women Behind the Women”:

This remake of the 1939 classic film is a witty and emotional look at loyalties, betrayals, careers, families and most of all, friendships. Preserving the same sharp wit and outrageousness of the original, English adapts her version of the story to more deeply focus the story line on the powerful friendships between the characters and the humorous but true-to-life support they lend to one another. The Women features an ensemble of distinguished actresses, including Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett Smith, Cloris Leachman, Bette Midler and Candice Bergen, who have come together to redefine real beauty and real success for a new generation of women.

“Seventy percent of women say that having a close circle of friends is important to making a woman feel beautiful,” said Dove marketing director Kathy O’Brien. “This film reminds us that our circle of friends is an influential and important factor shaping our views of beauty and success. Our partnership with The Women creates a new and compelling way of reaching real women and girls, to understand and address the challenges that they face today.”

The campaign issue still unspoken:
Kathryn Roberts, president and chief executive of a nonprofit senior housing and services company, writes on The New Old Age that she hopes to break “The Candidates’ Silence on Long-Term Care”:

Unfortunately, as the unprecedented age wave rises, America sits in a costly time warp. We’re flying a 1965 aircraft — the Great Society programs of Medicare and Medicaid — absent an overhauled engine. While other countries have coordinated home- and community-based services for young and old with physical challenges, our outdated way unnecessarily, and expensively, institutionalizes people.

Medicaid pays nearly half of long-term care expenditures in the United States, costing federal and state governments $116.8 billion every year, according to the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. American businesses lose as much as $33.6 billion in annual revenue because of employees’ need to care for family. That’s about $2,110 per full-time employee who is also a caregiver, according to the MetLife Caregiving Study. There is a better way.

So why are the candidates generally silent on these issues? Though Senators Barack Obama and John McCain each authored books, they’ve penned and spoken few words on long-term care. I see several reasons for this silence.

One is language. When people hear “long-term care,” their mind typically sees an outdated nursing home they want to avoid. Not great fodder for a stump speech. But long-term care is becoming much more, from independence-enhancing technologies to intergenerational respite centers. At its best, it’s empowered living, and we need new language and images reflecting that.

Roberts goes on to list several more, including that “policymakers, like most Americans,” under the mistaken impression that Medicare pays for more than it does.  And she says the candidates’ plans needn’t be dire: “Long-term care, in fact, could be a doable door opener to overall [health care] reform.”

More proof it’s not in your head: WVFC has reported on numerous studies showing that too little sleep is bad for you. But we were surprised to hear that scientists can track its effect on the system:

Loss of sleep, even for a few short hours during the night, can prompt one’s immune system to turn against healthy tissue and organs. A new article in the September 15th issue of Biological Psychiatry, by the UCLA Cousins Center research team, reports that losing sleep for even part of one night can trigger the key cellular pathway that produces tissue-damaging inflammation. The findings suggest a good night’s sleep can ease the risk of both heart disease and autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis….

These data close an important gap in understanding the cellular mechanisms by which sleep loss enhances inflammatory biology in humans, with implications for understanding the association between sleep disturbance and risk of a wide spectrum of medical conditions including cardiovascular disease, arthritis, diabetes, certain cancers, and obesity. John H. Krystal, M.D., Editor of Biological Psychiatry and affiliated with both Yale University School of Medicine and the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, comments: “The closer that we look at sleep, the more that we learn about the benefits of sleeping. In this case, Irwin and colleagues provide evidence that sleep deprivation is associated with enhancement of pro-inflammatory processes in the body.”


— Chris L.

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