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Showing posts from July, 2021

Aducanumab (Aduhelm) for the Treatment of Alzheimers: A Podcast with Aaron Kesselheim and Jason Karlawish

  On June 7th, 2021 FDA approved the amyloid beta-directed antibody aducanumab (Aduhelm) for the Treatment of Alzheimers.  This approval of aducanumab was not without controversy. Actually, let me restate that.  The approval of aducanumab was a hot mess, inside a dumpster fire, inside a train wreck. After the approval, three members of the FDA advisory panel, which unanimously was not in favor of the approval of aduhelm, quit.  One of them, Aaron Kesselheim (who we have on our podcast today) described it as “the worst drug approval decision in recent U.S. history" in his resignation letter . Then the FDA had to revise the label one month after publishing it because the original didn't even come close to looking like the population in which treatment was initiated in clinical trials.  Then, wait for it, after a firestorm of criticism the FDA’s commissioner had to ask for an independent investigation to look into the interactions between Biogen representatives and FDA members. 

Cannabis in Older Adults: A Podcast with Bree Johnston and Ben Han

  Cannabis use by older adults has increased substantially over the last decade, a trend that has paralleled the legalization of its use for medical and recreational purposes. In that same time, there has been a decreased perceived risk associated with cannabis use in older adults as noted in  a recent study published in JAGS . On today’s podcast we talk with Drs. Bree Johnston and Ben Han about what the health care providers role is in cannabinoid prescribing and advising when caring for older adults. We try to cover a lot in this podcast, including some of these topics: Epidemiology of cannabis used by older adults  ( including aspects of the JAGS study ) The basic pharmacology and dosing of cannabinoids The latest evidence for the efficacy of cannabis Specific risks and side effects that providers should be aware about, and how we should monitor patients using cannabinoid products Drug interactions we should be aware about

Polypharmacy and Deprescribing Super Special: Podcast with Anna Parks, Matthew Growdon, and Mike Steinman

  In a new study in JAGS , Matthew Growdon found that the average number of medications people with dementia took in the outpatient setting was eight, compared to 3 for people without dementia.   In another study in JAGS , Anna Parks found that among older adults with atrial fibrillation, less than 10% of disability could be explained by stroke over an almost 8 year time period.  She also talked about the need for a new framework for anti-coagulation decisions for patients in the last 6 months of life, based on an article she authored in JAMA Internal Medicine with Ken Covinsky. In today’s podcast we talk with Matthew and Anna, joined by co-author Mike Steinman, to talk about polypharmacy, deprescribing, where we are and what we need to do to stop this freight train of ever more medications for older adults and those living with serious illness. We start by addressing the root cause of the problem.  Clinicians want to “do something” to help their patients.  And one thing we know how t

Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE): A Podcast with Dan Drake and Jay Luxenberg

  Older adults often turn to institutional settings like nursing homes when they need more help than they can get at home. However, since the 1970s, there has been a program that allows older adults to receive nursing home-level care outside of nursing homes. That model of care is known as the Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly, or PACE. On today’s podcast, we discuss PACE with two leaders in the PACE community, Dan Drake and Jay Luxenberg. Dan is the President and CEO of Trinity Health PACE, the second largest provider of PACE in the country, and Jay is the Chief Medical Officer of On Lok, the very first PACE demonstration site in the nation. We talk with Dan and Jay about all things PACE, including: What is PACE and what is included in it that makes it able to care for nursing home level care in peoples homes? How is PACE paid for, what does it need to cover, and who is eligible? How did PACE start and what’s the evidence that it works? What are the challenges to PACE im

Race/ethnic differences in end-of-life care: Podcast with Rashmi Sharma and Zhi Jia

  We have made remarkable progress in reducing the use of feeding tubes for patients with advanced dementia.  This has been due to the leadership of people like Susan Mitchell and Joan Teno, among others.  One might hope that this reduction in use of feeding tubes has been in part due to advance care planning discussions that helped align care and treatment with patients goals.  How then, do we explain the concerning findings in a pair of recent papers demonstrating high rates of mechanical ventilation among patients with dementia?  In today’s podcast, we talk with Rashmi Sharma, who in JAGS found that rates of mechanical ventilation rose from 4% to 12% among whites with advanced dementia and 9% to 22% among blacks between 2001 and 2014.  One in five blacks with advanced dementia admitted from a nursing home received mechanical ventilation.  That’s startling.   And Zhi Jia found in a Medicare sample that Asians were more likely to receive mechanical ventilation than whites, and disp