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July 9, 2009 Volume VI, No. 8

HIN Communications Editor Laura Greene

Dear Healthcare Intelligence Network Client,

According to the National Coffee Association, in 2000 an estimated 54 percent of U.S. adults drank coffee daily. This week's Disease Management Update brings good news to these java junkies, as a new study published this month by the University of South Florida suggests caffeine can have positive effects on some forms of dementia.

Your colleague in the business of healthcare,
Laura Greene
Editor, Disease Management Update

This week's DM news:

Table of Contents

  1. Caffeine Reverses Memory Impairment
  2. Early Intervention for Chronic Illnesses
  3. Health Behavior Change
  4. Medical Homes for Behavioral Health
  5. Healthcare Trends & Studies
  6. Vegetarian Diets May Help in Disease Prevention
  7. Health Coaching in '09

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Caffeine Reverses Memory Impairment in Mice with AD

When aged mice bred to develop symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) were given caffeine — the equivalent of five cups of coffee a day — their memory impairment was reversed, report University of South Florida (USF) researchers at the Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. Back-to-back studies published online in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease show caffeine significantly decreased abnormal levels of the protein linked to AD, both in the brains and in the blood of mice exhibiting symptoms of the disease.

The study included 55 mice genetically altered to develop memory problems mimicking AD as they aged. After behavioral tests confirmed the mice were exhibiting signs of memory impairment at age 18 to 19 months — about age 70 in human years — the researchers gave half the mice caffeine in their drinking water. The other half got plain water. The AD mice received the equivalent of five 8-oz. cups of regular coffee a day, the same amount of caffeine as contained in two cups of specialty coffees, 14 cups of tea or 20 soft drinks. At the end of the two-month study, the caffeinated mice performed much better on tests measuring their memory and thinking skills. Their memories were identical to normal aged mice without dementia. The AD mice drinking plain water continued to do poorly on the tests.

“The new findings provide evidence that caffeine could be a viable ‘treatment’ for established Alzheimer’s disease, and not simply a protective strategy,” said lead author Gary Arendash, Ph.D., a USF neuroscientist with the Florida ADRC. “That’s important because caffeine is a safe drug for most people, it easily enters the brain, and it appears to directly affect the disease process.”

To learn more about this research, please visit:

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Telehealth Technology Means Early Intervention for Chronic Illnesses

Focused Health Solutions, a premier provider of employer-based population health management services, and Cardiocom® will provide advanced home telehealth technology to patients with chronic illness. Cardiocom's telehealth system is also expected to enhance participant engagement, increase quality of life and improve outcomes.

Cardiocom’s telehealth system provides an interactive opportunity to proactively manage and motivate the member towards self care. The Commander Home Telemonitoring System guides the participant through an interactive health check and collection of vital signs including weight, blood pressure, glucose and heart rate. This information is immediately transmitted via a standard phone line or cellular connection to the participant’s nurse coach at a clinical nurse call center. The participant’s nurse coach reviews the information with the participant during their scheduled condition management education calls throughout the year. Focused Health Solution’s tailored DM program is available to all members who qualify as an option to their health coverage with their employer.

“The Cardiocom System is a key advanced home care technology tool that proactively ensures coordinated care,” says Charlene Bonvissuto, a registered nurse and president and CEO at Focused Health. “We believe that cost-effective monitoring of vital signs, symptoms and compliance with evidence-based guidelines is a fundamental tool in the condition management process.”

To learn more about this research, please visit:

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Finding Success in Health Behavior Change

A move backward in readiness to change should not be perceived as a failure on the client's part but rather as an opportunity to readjust behavior goals, observes Kate Larsen, president of Winning LifeStyles, Inc., an ICF-certified professional coach and a WellCoaches® faculty member and mentor coach. The author of "Progress, Not Perfection" notes that there's value in reminding clients that health coaching is a journey and in checking coaching egos at the door to improve listening skills and allow clients to own their behavior change goals.

To listen to this complimentary HIN podcast, please visit:

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Medical Homes for Behavioral Health

Each week, healthcare professionals respond to a reader's query on an industry issue. This week's expert is Joe Eppling, assistant vice president of post acute and behavioral health services at East Jefferson General Hospital in Louisiana.

Question: Are you seeing the development of medical homes in your marketplace? How can medical homes serve the needs of behavioral health patients?

Response: We have something similar. The West Bank facility has opened up a transitional care unit, which are apartments where they are able to house patients who are no longer meeting acute-care criteria. It’s a sub-acute housing arrangement, where we can get patients involved with community resources, be it the mental health clinic or other mental health resources. Most of that program right now is being funded through grants at no cost to the patients or insurance program.

For more information on managing patients with mental health issues, please visit:

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Care Transitions Across Sites

When transitioning patients from one healthcare setting to another, it’s not uncommon to encounter gaps in care that have the potential to negatively impact their health. To remedy this problem and reduce associated costs, organizations are taking steps to better plan for a patient’s care transitions and close these gaps in care. These simple strategies can have a significant effect on health outcomes, likelihood of readmission and ER visits, cost to patients, providers and insurers and the burden on caregivers and family members. This white paper from HIN is based on HIN’s April 2009 e-survey in which respondents were asked to share their organization’s experiences with care transitions.

To download this complimentary white paper, please visit:

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Vegetarian Diets May Help in Disease Prevention and Treatment

The American Dietetic Association (ADA) has concluded that vegetarian diets, if well-planned, are healthful and nutritious for adults, infants, children and adolescents and can help prevent and treat chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes. Appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood and adolescence and for athletes.

Vegetarian diets are often associated with health advantages including lower blood cholesterol levels, lower risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure levels and lower risk of hypertension and type 2 diabetes, according to ADA’s position, stated in a position paper published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. The paper states that “vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index and lower overall cancer rates. Vegetarian diets tend to be lower in saturated fat and cholesterol and have higher levels of dietary fiber, magnesium and potassium, vitamins C and E, folate, carotenoids, flavonoids and other phytochemicals. These nutritional differences may explain some of the health advantages of those following a varied, balanced vegetarian diet.”

To learn more about this research, please visit:

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Health Coaching Trends in 2009

The health coaching field is evolving, as it is becoming more widely accepted as a means of helping patients better manage their health conditions. HIN's Survey of the Month revisits this field to find out how and to what extent healthcare organizations are implementing health coaching into their organizations. Complete HIN's Survey of the Month on Health Coaching Trends in 2009 by July 31 and receive a free executive summary of the compiled results. Your responses will be kept strictly confidential.

To participate in this survey and receive its results, please visit:

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