If you're interested in autonomous driving cars, the public is invited to a forum/program on Thursday, February 2, 8:30 am-noon, at the Arlington Convention Center. There will be an opportunity to take a ride in an autonomous-driving car. More info on the City of Arlington's website at this link http://bit.ly/2knzCC3 .
I summarized why Dr. Allan Frances, M.D., objects to the misuse and overuse of the DSM-5 (Diagnostic & Statistical Manual, version 5) which holds descriptions of various mental diseases/disorders, each of which receives a diagnosis/billing code (called CPT and ICD-10 codes) which are then used by clinicians to bill for services.Dr. Frances was the Chair of the Psychiatry Department at Duke University Medical School and was the Chair of the Task Force which created the DSM-IV manual (1994, the predecessor of the current DSM-5 (c)2013, and he is critical of overuse of DSM-IV also).
In his view, too many quirks of ordinary people are being medicalized and treated with a pill to the great harm of people, especially children. His book "Saving Normal" describes how our bodies always try to return themselves to homeostasis (balance) and except for very serious psychosis, with time and possibly "talk therapy," what is diagnosed as a mental disorder will resolve on its own and a pill often makes the temporary condition worse.
At our meeting, we discussed the importance of becoming educated about how doctors, laboratories, and pharmaceutical companies collude and over-diagnose and over-treat certain conditions and how it is up to each one of us to do our own research these days to determine whether we agree with the treatment being recommended by a doctor.
We don't want to get sucked into the "pill for every ill" cycle unnecessarily.
I appreciate each one of you and hope to see each of you at an upcoming meeting.
I was very disappointed in the PBS special which aired tonight called "Every Minute Counts" about Alzheimer's disease. What a money grab for research dollars (pharma). After 30 years of research and billions spent, so little progress. I don't believe the solution is a pharmacological solution.
After all this time, it's still very difficult to diagnose (doctors pretend to know more than they do), no treatment, no cure. More needs to be spent on helping people with the diagnosis live their best lives (research better communication methods), and more money on assistive innovations to help patients and their care partners, including money for respite. AND more money to reduce the STIGMA through education. There is NO SHAME in having dementia!
Patients and care partners don't need/want your pity (hated the depressing music playing in the documentary tonight, with the drumbeats and all that--ugh) and they don't even need your compassion. They need the gift of our understanding and of our "time" (to give the care partner a break, mow the grass, make dinner, invite them over to your house or cook dinner at their house).
Here is the link to a Letter to the Editor which I wrote in support of telemedicine.
In case the link doesn't work (if you're not a subscriber or whatever, here is what was printed:
"TELEMEDICINE. I agree with Dr. Jon Thomas that Texas lawmakers should pass a bill to join 18 other states that have approved the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. (Letters, Jan. 5).
The Texas Sunset Advisory Commission, in its recent review of the Texas Medical Board, also recommended that the Texas Medical Board support passage of the IMLC.
Joining the IMLC streamlines physician licensing across state borders so that conditions/diseases that are appropriate for telemedicine visits could be handled by a board-certified physician in another state.
There are many different types of telemedicine, and I encourage readers to educate themselves by reviewing information readily available at reliable sources.
Thirty-five Texas counties have zero physicians, and residents struggle to receive medical care.
Telemedicine isn't the total answer to the problem, but it will help.
Elva Roy, Arlington"
[Note: My letter was slightly edited by the Star-Telegram but the gist remains.]
At yesterday's meeting, we were delighted to welcome a special visitor in our audience, Dr. Victoria Farrar-Myers, at-large member of Arlington City Council and SMU Political Science professor).
Drs. Gail Adorno and Noelle Fields (UTA School of Social Work) described three research projects related to local transportation (Arlington and Fort Worth) that they are conducting for certain grantors. They are researching the impact that lack of transportation has on our most vulnerable citizens which are mostly low-income elders and disabled persons who have no car and/or no longer drive. We hope when their studies are completed and reports are written/published, that they will come back to share what their research revealed.
Mona Bailey, Speaker Pro-tem of the Texas Silver-Haired Legislature (TSHL, website at http://www.txshl.org ), educated us about the advocacy that the TSHL does for every older resident of Texas at their own expense (no charge to any older citizen, no tax money, but if you would like to thank TSHL by making a donation, that is possible on their website at this link and I plan to make a small donation because I am so appreciative of what they do and know that it's critical that Texas' elected representatives be educated on the needs of elders http://www.txshl.org/foundation.cfm ). Donations are optional and if I remember correctly, Mona never suggested yesterday that members of Ambassadors make a donation (and she/her husband who also serves on TSHL will continue paying for their own expenses on the multiple trips made to Austin). Mona showed a book of 170 proposed bills/amendments for the 85th Texas Legislative session which opened today and she passed out a handout of her top eleven priorities for the current session (all of which are extremely important to elders). Lack of space prevents me from listing all of those here but I'm sure Mona would be glad to email you a copy if you email her at email@example.com .
Announcements made by Elva:
Elva Roy is the Lead Ambassador of the all-volunteer group "Ambassadors For Aging Well" which meets in Arlington, Texas.