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First installment for cutting healthcare costs.

The Wall Street Journal this week printed an article entitled Dealing with the Cost of Alzheimer’s which you can read at the end of this installment about cutting healthcare costs. Rising healthcare cost is becoming more serious and bringing down corporations and destroying the life savings of families.

In helping set the stage for our detailed plan for cutting healthcare costs, let me quote brief statements from my book Expand Your Mind - Improve Your Brain Chapters 4 and 38 before the Wall Street Journal article:

In the mid 1990s, it cost $1,000,000 to store a terabyte (TB) of information in a computer. Today that same amount of data can be stored for less than $300 on disk and only $60 on tape. Solid state capabilities may soon bring that cost even lower.

Storage capacities are now being measured in petabytes (PB). A petabyte is 2 to the 50th power (1,125,899,906,842,624) bytes. A petabyte is equal to 1,024 terabytes.

Oh, to be able to have the kind of advancements in healthcare savings that we have had in computers and data storage savings. I submit to you, that IT IS POSSIBLE. Part of that concept was presented at the Glycomics Medical Conference by Lory Moore, JD. (The Conference was sponsored by The Endowment for Medical Research of Houston, Texas.) I will discuss later in the book ways to cut healthcare costs in America by over One Trillion Dollars ($1,000,000,000,000) annually. You draw your own conclusion and let me know if you think the plan will work.

Poor memory and poor cognitive activity are devastating, not only for individuals with poor cognitive activity, but for everyone who loves them.  I am seeking more practical ways to safely improve brain function because I have seen families experience untold delight as the clock seems to turn back for loved ones with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s diseases.  There is another major benefit.  The economic impact on healthcare costs could be savings in the billions of dollars.

My objective and calling is to help discover ways to safely improve brain signals.  It may be by learning how to best activate more neurons and cause a proliferation of more functional neurons.

A friend, whose husband has Alzheimer’s, told me that after giving him a particular nutritional supplement, she had noticed more positive cognitive activity WITHIN MINUTES.  I told her that was impossible because the capsule could not dissolve that quickly.  She responded that she had taken it out of the capsule and put the nutrient in his apple sauce.

Wow!  This anecdotal information was significant.  Brain activity had been triggered quickly.  I knew we were onto something very exciting, but how could we prove it?  By applying reverse engineering, we may be able to determine what is actually happening.  The supplement that the spouse of the Alzheimer’s patient had given him was a special blend of a standardized diascoria precursor complex to dehydroepiandrosterone.  The amount of dehydroepiandrosterone in your brain is normally six and one half times as much as the amount that is in your bloodstream, but according to Ward Dean, MD in his book Smart Drugs, it is much decreased or missing in Alzheimer’s patients.

My objective is to discover every possible way for improving brain function, with the foremost thought of, “DO NO HARM”,  and then design an integrated system that will work better than any single component.  As you read this, you may be surprised at what you discover about how to make the brain work more effectively.

Special events, a particularly pleasant event or an event you choose to participate in, holds a hierarchical organizational place in the brain.  The time period around that event will remain clear in your memory years later.  Your perception of an event determines if it is positive or negative.  Your attitude affects your whole nervous system and determines if event data are stored for your good or your harm.  Your neurons are trained to be receptive to your will.  Now, that’s a quantum thought.

Going to Chapter 38, I wrote:

Integrating glycomics with standard of care has the possibility of delaying the onslaught of dementia, Alzeimer’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases.

The economical impact this discovery can have on the nation is astounding.  There are currently some six million (6,000,000) Alzheimer’s patients in the United States with an expected fifteen million (15,000,000) within the next few years.  The current cost of caring for these victims is estimated at $75,000 per person year per year.  That is an annual economic burden of four hundred and fifty billion dollars ($450,000,000).

Delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s for 15 million patients just one year could result in a national savings of $1.125 trillion ($1,125,000,000,000) minus normal living costs, still leaving a savings of approximately $1 trillion.

Dealing With the Cost of Alzheimer's

When Theresa Kraus's mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2005 at age 87, Ms. Kraus figured that she could manage the health-care bills if she combined her mother's savings and her own. But the size of those bills proved larger than anyone anticipated.

To start, the mother moved in with Ms. Kraus, who had to pay for care almost 24 hours a day, seven days a week. An extra person in the house meant higher costs for food and utilities. Additional expenses -- including medicine, co-payments for doctors' visits and adult diapers -- amounted to $200 to $300 a month.

By the time her mother passed away in March, Ms. Kraus had run through her mother's savings -- as well as the money that Ms. Kraus had put aside for her daughter's college education. Ms. Kraus, a teacher in Rochester, N.Y., is now tens of thousands of dollars in debt. She says she doesn't regret a penny of the money spent, but adds that the impact on her finances was devastating.

"You never think you are going to outspend the money you [have] saved," she says.

An Alzheimer's diagnosis is the start of a long, hard road. Naturally, health-care questions must be resolved, but at the same time, families need to address a host of financial issues. They range from the logistical -- tracking down deeds or making sure family members have access to bank and savings accounts -- to budgeting and assessing the potential costs of care.

"These are conversations that need to be had early and often," says Donna Schempp, program director for the California-based Family Caregiver Alliance.

Patients Participate

Tackling tough questions at the outset can give Alzheimer's patients the chance to express their wishes, which can go a long way toward avoiding family disputes down the road.

"People in the early stage of the disease, no matter how old, can still retain a lot of abilities and be able to participate in their own planning," says Peter Reed, senior director of programs for the Alzheimer's Association.

Legal issues, such as determining who will have power of attorney once the person is no longer able to make decisions, should be a top priority. Says Marguerite Angelari, an elder-care law professor at Loyola University Chicago School of Law: "Decision-making capacity is going to start to decline...and, if needed, you want to be able to have someone step in immediately."

If the person with Alzheimer's lives on his or her own, household bills should be sent to someone else, and others should have the ability to monitor spending. "Sometimes when people are in the early stages of dementia they spend money inappropriately or build up unpaid bills because they aren't able to keep track," Ms. Angelari says.

Outlining a potential budget can help avoid unpleasant surprises later.

If there's a long-term-care insurance policy, review details of the coverage. And as daunting as it seems, when considering questions about home care and nursing homes, talk to an expert on your state's Medicaid to understand eligibility rules.

That kind of help can sometimes be found at a state agency on aging, in the office of an elder-law attorney, or with an organization such as the Alzheimer's Association, which has staff members who also offer help on setting up a budget.

Central to financial planning will be decisions about where the care will take place, such as an assisted-living facility, nursing home or in a family home. Continuing-care retirement communities have grown in popularity, but they generally require a large initial investment. Adult day care is more common, but also comes with a cost.

Paying Family Members

Some family members will want to help provide care. For those thinking about quitting a job or working part time, be sure to weigh the costs beyond losing a salary. Such a move will cut into retirement savings and Social Security, not to mention potentially lead to the loss of medical insurance.

One increasingly popular option is to have a family member act as a paid caregiver. But that approach is more complicated than just writing a check; if you end up applying for Medicaid, such payments could be viewed as transfers of assets, which could delay eligibility. The solution is to have a so-called personal-care contract put in place, which specifies the care being provided and the pay.

"You want to formalize it as much as possible," says Loyola's Ms. Angelari. "And you want to work with an attorney that doesn't just know the state law; you want one that knows what's going to be acceptable to the Medicaid office."

Then, as Ms. Kraus found out with her mother, expenses pop up unexpectedly. In addition to adult diapers, many people with advanced Alzheimer's may need costly liquid nutritional supplements. If there are physical impairments as well, home modifications may be needed.

Getting Started

To get started, a number of resources are available online. Both the Alzheimer's Association (alz.org) and the Family Caregiver Alliance (caregiver.org) provide tip sheets with an overview of the many issues to consider, as does the National Institute on Aging, at www.nia.nih.gov/Alzheimers.

The Alzheimer's Association also has a hotline, 1-800-272-3900. It's staffed 24 hours a day.

The National Institute on Aging can be reached at 800-438-4380.

Wall Street Journal - USA

By TOM LAURICELLA

June 22, 2008

• Email: encore@wsj.com

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121408672863794575.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Last Updated ( Jun 23, 2008 at 02:06 PM )