USDA report (in americaBLOG): 81% more seniors living alone rely on foodbanks (0128)

The Obama failure: senior citizens increasingly relying on food pantries
by Chris in Paris


the text about this US department of agriculture (USDA) report is excerpted in a 11/28/2009 post on americaBLOG. i have put the report first and the 2 paragraphs of commentary after, reversing the order of the original post.



The number of seniors living alone who seek help from food pantries in the U.S. increased 81 percent to 408,000 in 2008, compared to 225,000 in 2006, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Overall, 4.7 million households used American food pantries in 2008, compared to about 3.7 million in 2006.

“Seniors thought they were OK, but they’re not OK,” said Virginia Skinner, director of Development at The Association of Arizona Food Banks in Phoenix, citing the downturn in the area’s housing market.

Catholic Charities USA, which has 170 agencies across the country helping the needy, issued a 2009 third-quarter report that found a 54 percent increase in requests for food and services from seniors nationwide compared to the same period last year.

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ksdk (gannett, nbc, USAtoday), st. louis: 69-year-old stu smith lives with HIV/AIDS & premature aging (0118)

AIDS and aging
December 29, 2009

NBC — Thanks to a powerful combination of drugs, HIV is for the most part a chronic, but treatable condition. But while those drugs help people live longer, it appears people with HIV are aging faster.

Stu Smith has lived with HIV since the early ’80’s and living with the virus for him means living with a huge list of medications.

39 to be exact.

Stu says “I take heart medications, I take liver, I can’t even remember, actually I carry a list.”

The meds help keep him active. But at 69, he says he often times feels older, much older.

Stu says “Today I feel like I’m a hundred.”

In addition to living with HIV, he’s also feeling the effects of premature aging.

Stu says “that’s a direct result of what they first called brittle bone disease, it was a simple break. On a good day I can walk fifty feet, without sitting down and holding onto something. My memory is a mess and it’s embarassing because sometimes I can’t remember what I forgot.”

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jules levin, NATAP: new aging int’l collaboration project (0104)

International collaborative research projects to decipher the biology behind the ageing process
reported by Jules Levin
26. November 2009

UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and US National Institute on Aging

Research efforts to help the world’s ageing population live longer healthier lives have been given a major boost with the announcement of six new transatlantic research projects aiming to understanding the biology of the ageing process.

In the first agreement of its kind, the US funding agency for ageing research, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the UK’s funding body for bioscience research, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) are jointly funding £4M of projects. Each project includes leading researchers from universities from both the UK and US.

The transatlantic research teams will study the biology that drives how our bodies change with age. Their aim is to generate knowledge about the biology behind ageing that will ultimately contribute to a better quality of life and health for the growing older population.

Amongst the challenges that the projects will investigate are: why an older person’s immune systems doesn’t always work as well as a younger person’s; what genetic and molecular effects in the body that determine age span; and how environmental factors impact on the genetics of ageing.

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jules levin, NATAP: HIV in 70-year-olds — comorbid conditions (0103)

Reported by Jules Levin
Presented at IAS Capetown July 2009

Management of HIV-1 infection in older patients can be complicated by geriatric syndromes, high comorbidity and polipharmacy….We designed a multicenter cross-sectional study to describe the epidemiological characteristics of the HIV-1-infected population aged 70 years or more in our setting….69% had been diagnosed with HIV-1 after their sixties….179 HIV-infected individuals aged 70 years or more were included….154 subjects had at least one comorbid condition, including dyslipidemia (54%), hypertension (36%), hyperglicaemia or diabetes (30%), cardiovascular disease (23%), chronic renal failure (18%), history of neoplasia (17%), and cognitive impairment (11%)…..Lipodystrophy was reported in 58% of individuals…..Elders infected with HIV-1 were frequently affected by comorbidities, polypharmacy and were likely diagnosed late at low CD4+ counts. Tailored antiretroviral regimens and closer monitoring need to be established for the elderly.

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andrew jack, financial times: french-based “unitaid” creates pool of 19 HIV/AIDS meds for independent mfg, dist & pricing in developing nations (0102)

HIV pool adds to pressure on drug groups
By Andrew Jack in London
Published: December 15 2009

Nine western pharmaceutical companies face fresh pressure to ease control over their HIV medicines following the establishment of an international mechanism designed to increase treatment access in the developing world.

The board of Unitaid, the French-backed health funding agency, voted on Tuesday to create a “patent pool” to increase the freedom of rival companies to combine and sell almost 20 antiretroviral drugs to provide greater help to patients in poor countries.

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andrew jack, financial times: gilead poised to profit from new WHO/DHHS guidelines (0101)

Gilead set to benefit from HIV guidelines
By Andrew Jack in London
Published: December 2 2009

Gilead, the US biotech company, is poised to benefit from new World Health Organisation guidelines for HIV which call for earlier treatment using more up-to-date antiretroviral drugs for millions of extra patients around the world.

The company is expecting to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in additional revenues each year from the new approach, with significant extra sales for Bristol-Myers Squibb of the US, its partner on one drug combination treatment.

A number of low-cost generic drug manufacturers including several based in India will suffer falling sales, with the phasing out of the older antiretroviral medicine stavudine (also called d4T), which is now judged as too toxic to justify continued use.

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jessica yu, (daily news) interviews 68-year-old john s. james, founder, AIDS treatment news, 2009 jonathan lax award winner (0095)

Chronicling AIDS treatment
Activist turned fear into help for others

Philadelphia Daily News 215-854-5218


john is one of my AIDS heroes. i would wait for the (snail)mail to arrive every week (it seemed) with the latest edition of AIDS treatment news in it. john’s insightful, focused writing and interviews kept me hanging on.



John S. James opens his Apple laptop in a West Philadelphia coffee shop to plumb 50,000 AIDS-related Web pages for any news worth posting to the information system that he’s devoted two decades to build.

He gets a notice about City Hall events for World AIDS Day, which is today, searches for credible AIDS stories and posts everything to a blog linked to AIDS Treatment News, the newsletter he created in 1986 that became such an authoritative source for patients that it was featured in a 1991 New York Times article.

He then works on a new fundraiser and follows up with organizers for a conference to be held in San Francisco in February.
It’s a typical day for James, a 68-year-old, self-effacing activist who became one of the most important figures in disseminating AIDS information. He’ll be honored for his work tomorrow night with this year’s Jonathan Lax Award, named after the late AIDS activist, at Philadelphia FIGHT’s “We Remember Gala.”

“We’re celebrating his stellar career as a provider of information,” said Jane Shull, director of Philadelphia FIGHT, an AIDS service organization. “He’s one of the first people to advance the awareness of treatments, carefully distributing information not only on research and policy issues but resources for the infected living in recovery homes and in jail.”

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