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FIREBALL $900 FOR JANUARY 10, 2017.

 


 

Wednesday
Aug092017

Medicaid coverage brings more silence to the hearing impaired

Federal government does not require Medicaid to cover hearing aids for adult beneficiaries, resulting in serious inconsistencies in coverage

State policies were graded based on six criteria. Twenty-two states are rated poor, six are rated fair, 14 are good and eight are rated excellent.

Medicaid does not cover hearing aids in 22 states. Coverage varies greatly in the remaining 28 states based on the degree of hearing loss and types of benefits available. Such inconsistencies exist as the federal government does not require Medicaid to cover hearing aids for adults, allowing individual states to set its own guidelines.

"Medicaid Hearing Aid Coverage for Older Adult Beneficiaries: A State-by-State Comparison" published in the August issue of Health Affairs is the first comprehensive review of state-level Medicaid coverage. Lead author Michelle Arnold, Au.D.. CCC-A, University of South Florida, used six criteria to rank Medicaid's coverage policies in older adult beneficiaries.

  •   Eligibility of assessment and treatment
  •   Two hearing aids
  •   Batteries
  •   Supplies
  •   Follow-up and rehabilitation
  •   Repairs or replacement

Medicaid in 12 of the 28 states (CA, IL, IN, MN, MO, NH, NV, NY, OH, SD, TX and VT) covers hearing aids if the patient is considered to have "mild" or greater hearing loss, such as difficulty understanding soft speech when there's a lot of background noise, like in a restaurant. "Moderate" or greater hearing loss is required in six states (FL, MT, NJ, ND, OR and WY), which can be problematic in most conversational settings. Six other states (HI, IA, MA, NE, RI and WI) rely on opinions from audiologists and physicians, as there aren't any standards. There's nothing in the guidelines that suggest criteria for hearing loss severity in four states (AK, CT, KS and NM). Continue reading

Source: EurekAlert, August 7, 2017

Monday
Aug072017

Cognitive hearing aid filters out the noise 

Columbia Engineers make major advance in helping the hearing impaired follow a conversation in a noisy environment: new method brings cognitive hearing aids a step closer to reality

Caption A cognitively controlled assistive hearing device can automatically amplify one speaker among many. To do so, a deep neural network automatically separates each of the speakers from the mixture, and compares each speaker with the neural data from the user's brain. The speaker that best matches the neural data is then amplified to assist the user.

New York, NY -- Aug. 4, 2017 -- People who are hearing impaired have a difficult time following a conversation in a multi-speaker environment such as a noisy restaurant or a party. While current hearing aids can suppress background noise, they cannot help a user listen to a single conversation among many without knowing which speaker the user is attending to. A cognitive hearing aid that constantly monitors the brain activity of the subject to determine whether the subject is conversing with a specific speaker in the environment would be a dream come true.

Using deep neural network models, researchers at Columbia Engineering have made a breakthrough in auditory attention decoding (AAD) methods and are coming closer to making cognitively controlled hearing aids a reality. The study, led by Nima Mesgarani, associate professor of electrical engineering, is published today in the Journal of Neural Engineering. The work was done in collaboration with Columbia University Medical Center's Department of Neurosurgery and Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine, and Feinstein Institute for Medical Research. Continue reading

Source: EurekAlert, August 4, 2017

Wednesday
Aug022017

People with autism are less surprised by the unexpected

Adults with autism may overestimate the volatility of the world around them, finds a new UCL study published in Nature Neuroscience.

The researchers found that adults with autism were less surprised by unexpected images in a simple learning task than adults without autism, and those who were the least surprised had the most pronounced symptoms.

"We know from previous studies that people with autism often aren't surprised by things that would surprise other people," said lead author Dr Rebecca Lawson (UCL Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging). "Our results suggest that this may be because of differences in how people with autism build expectations. Our expectations bias our behaviour in subtle ways, so being less susceptible to these effects may result in strengths as well as difficulties."

Insistence on sameness and intolerance of change are part of the diagnostic criteria for autism, but there has been little research addressing how people with autism represent and respond to unexpected changes to their environment. Continue reading

Source: EurekAlert, August 1, 2017

Tuesday
Aug012017

Experts: One in three cases of dementia preventable

A new report identifies powerful tools to prevent dementia and touts the benefits of nonmedical interventions for people with dementia.

Managing lifestyle factors such as hearing loss, smoking, hypertension and depression could prevent one-third of the world's dementia cases, according to a report by the first Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention and Care. Presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC) 2017 and published in The Lancet, the report also highlights the beneficial effects of nonpharmacologic interventions such as social contact and exercise for people with dementia.

"There's been a great deal of focus on developing medicines to prevent dementia, including Alzheimer's disease," says commission member and AAIC presenter Lon Schneider, MD, professor of psychiatry and the behavioral sciences at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. "But we can't lose sight of the real major advances we've already made in treating dementia, including preventive approaches."

The commission brought together 24 international experts to systematically review existing research and provide evidence-based recommendations for treating and preventing dementia. About 47 million people have dementia worldwide and that number is expected to climb as high as 66 million by 2030 and 115 million by 2050. Continue reading

Source: ScienceDaily, July 20, 2017

Monday
Jul312017

How physical exercise prevents dementia

FRANKFURT. Numerous studies have shown that physical exercise seems beneficial in the prevention of cognitive impairment and dementia in old age. Now researchers at Goethe University Frankfurt have explored in one of the first studies worldwide how exercise affects brain metabolism.

In order to further advance current state of knowledge on the positive influence of physical activity on the brain, gerontologists and sports physicians at Goethe University Frankfurt have examined the effects of regular exercise on brain metabolism and memory of 60 participants aged between 65 and 85 in a randomised controlled trial. Their conclusion: regular physical exercise not only enhances fitness but also has a positive impact on brain metabolism.

Participants pedaled exercise bikes three times a week over a period of 12 weeks. The 30-minute training sessions were individually adapted to each participant's performance level. The study was conducted by the Gerontology Department of the Institute of General Medicine (headed by Professor Johannes Pantel) and the Department of Sports Medicine (led by Professor Winfried Banzer).

As expected, physical activity had influenced brain metabolism: it prevented an increase in choline. The concentration of this metabolite often rises as a result of the increased loss of nerve cells, which typically occurs in the case of Alzheimer's disease. Physical exercise led to stable cerebral choline concentrations in the training group, whereas choline levels increased in the control group. The participants' physical fitness also improved: they showed increased cardiac efficiency after the training period. Overall, these findings suggest that physical exercise not only improves physical fitness but also protects cells. Continue reading

Source: EurekAlert, July 21, 2017 (retrieved July 31, 2017)