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Dying for a better life: South Koreans fake their funerals for life lessons

SEOUL (Reuters) – A South Korean service is offering free funerals – but only to the living.

More than 25,000 people have participated in mass “living funeral” services at Hyowon Healing Center since it opened in 2012, hoping to improve their lives by simulating their deaths.

“Once you become conscious of death, and experience it, you undertake a new approach to life,” said 75-year-old Cho Jae-hee, who participated in a recent living funeral as part of a “dying well” program offered by her senior welfare center.

Dozens took part in the event, from teenagers to retirees, donning shrouds, taking funeral portraits, penning their last testaments, and lying in a closed coffin for around 10 minutes.

University student Choi Jin-kyu said his time in the coffin helped him realize that too often, he viewed others as competitors.

“When I was in the coffin, I wondered what use that is,” said the 28-year-old, adding that he plans to start his own business after graduation rather than attempting to enter a highly-competitive job market.

South Korea ranks 33 out of 40 countries surveyed in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Better Life Index. Many younger South Koreans have high hopes for education and employment, which have been dashed by a cooling economy and rising joblessness.

“It is important to learn and prepare for death even at a young age,” said Professor Yu Eun-sil, a doctor at Asan Medical Center’s pathology department, who has written a book about death.

In 2016, South Korea’s suicide rate was 20.2 per 100,000 residents, almost double the global average of 10.53, according to the World Health Organization.

Funeral company Hyowon began offering the living funerals to help people appreciate their lives, and seek forgiveness and reconciliation with family and friends, said Jeong Yong-mun, who heads the healing center.

Jeong said he is heartened when people reconcile at a relative’s funeral, but is saddened they wait that long.

“We don’t have forever,” he said. “That’s why I think this experience is so important – we can apologize and reconcile sooner and live the rest of our lives happily.”

Occasionally he has dissuaded those contemplating suicide.

Slideshow (6 Images)

“I picked out those people who have asked themselves whether … they can actually commit suicide, and I reversed their decision,” Jeong said.

The message of personal value resounded with Choi.

“I want to let people know that they matter, and that someone else would be so sad if they were gone,” he said, wiping away tears. “Happiness is in the present.”

Reporting by Daewoung Kim and Youngseo Choi. Writing by Minwoo Park. Editing by Josh Smith and Karishma Singh

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Where Is Your Risk of Dying Greatest After Surgery?

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, July 29, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Patients who have noncardiac surgery are much more likely to die after they leave the hospital than in the operating room, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed data on more than 40,000 adults, age 45 and older, who were operated on at 28 centers in 14 countries in North and South America, Asia, Europe, Africa and Australia.

Of those patients, 1.8% died within 30 days of surgery. Major bleeding, injury to the heart muscle and severe infection (sepsis) accounted for 45% of the deaths.

Only 0.7% of the deaths took place in the operating room, while 29% occurred after patients left the hospital.

The study was published July 29 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

“Given that most deaths in adults undergoing noncardiac surgery occur not in the operating room, but afterwards, efforts to improve postsurgical care in hospital and at home has substantial potential to reduce mortality,” study author Dr. P.J. Devereaux said in a journal news release. He’s a senior scientist at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

“Approximately 100 million adults aged 45 or older undergo noncardiac surgery worldwide every year, therefore an estimated 1.8 million people die of complications within 30 days,” Devereaux said.

“This means that death after surgery is a major global health burden,” he added.

The study authors said it may be possible to prevent some of these deaths through efforts that focus on prevention, early identification and close management of bleeding, cardiac issues and infection.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCE:Canadian Medical Association Journal, news release, July 29, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

Where Is Your Risk of Dying Greatest After Surgery?

MONDAY, July 29, 2019 — Patients who have noncardiac surgery are much more likely to die after they leave the hospital than in the operating room, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed data on more than 40,000 adults, age 45 and older, who were operated on at 28 centers in 14 countries in North and South America, Asia, Europe, Africa and Australia.

Of those patients, 1.8% died within 30 days of surgery. Major bleeding, injury to the heart muscle and severe infection (sepsis) accounted for 45% of the deaths.

Only 0.7% of the deaths took place in the operating room, while 29% occurred after patients left the hospital.

The study was published July 29 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

“Given that most deaths in adults undergoing noncardiac surgery occur not in the operating room, but afterwards, efforts to improve postsurgical care in hospital and at home has substantial potential to reduce mortality,” study author Dr. P.J. Devereaux said in a journal news release. He’s a senior scientist at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

“Approximately 100 million adults aged 45 or older undergo noncardiac surgery worldwide every year, therefore an estimated 1.8 million people die of complications within 30 days,” Devereaux said.

“This means that death after surgery is a major global health burden,” he added.

The study authors said it may be possible to prevent some of these deaths through efforts that focus on prevention, early identification and close management of bleeding, cardiac issues and infection.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more on recovery from surgery.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: July 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

How Your Marital Status Affects Your Odds of Dying From Heart Disease

FRIDAY, June 7, 2019 — Your gender and marital status hold telling clues about your risk of dying of heart disease, a large British study suggests.

It found that widowed and divorced men have significantly higher odds of death due to heart disease than women of the same marital status. But single men are more likely to survive heart failure than single women.

Compared to widows, men whose spouses die have an 11% higher risk of death after a heart attack. Widowers with heart failure are also 10% more likely to die; and widowers with atrial fibrillation or a-fib, an abnormal heart rhythm, are 13% more likely to die, the study found.

Similarly, divorced men with a-fib have a 14% higher risk of death than divorced women. Even among married people with a-fib, that risk was 6% higher for men.

But single men with heart failure actually had a 13% lower risk of death compared to single women.

“These findings suggest that widowed or divorced men, and single women, may be most in need of support in order to help minimize their individual risk of dying from these conditions,” Metin Avkiran, associate director of the British Heart Foundation, said in a foundation news release.

The findings come from an analysis of marital status and death rates of more than 1.8 million people treated for heart disease in Northern England between 2000 and 2014.

Lead author Dr. Rahul Potluri is a clinical lecturer in cardiology at Aston Medical School in Birmingham. He said when it comes to heart disease, focusing solely on a patient’s medical problem is not enough.

“It’s important we look into providing holistic care and explore other factors, such as their support network, which can also have a big impact on a person’s health,” Potluri said in the news release.

He and his colleagues discussed their findings Tuesday at a meeting of the British Cardiovascular Society, in Manchester. Research presented at meetings is typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The American Heart Association offers more details about heart disease.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: June 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Babies Still Dying Due to Unsafe Sleep Practices

By Serena Gordon

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, April 22, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The death of a baby is always tragic, but safe sleep practices could have prevented some recent suffocation deaths, new research claims.

The study found two factors appeared to be behind a majority of infant deaths by suffocation:

  • A baby not sleeping on his or her back.
  • A baby sleeping in an adult bed.

“Although this is a small proportion of sudden unexpected infant deaths, many suffocation deaths can be prevented,” said study author Alexa Erck Lambert. She is an epidemiologist at DB Consulting Group in Silver Spring, Md.

While the rates of accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed are low, they’re on the rise.

In 1999, six such deaths were recorded. In 2015, that number rose to 23 babies, according to background information in the study.

The authors noted that the rise in these deaths may be due to more precise definitions of causes-of-death. They added that current statistics may underestimate the problem.

For the new study, the researchers reviewed more than 1,800 infant deaths in a database of sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUID) from 2011 to 2014. In all, 250 babies — 14% — died from suffocation.

The cause of 69% of these deaths was soft bedding. And almost all — 92% — of the babies who died from suffocation on soft bedding weren’t sleeping on their backs. They were found on their side or on their stomach. Nearly half were in adult beds when they died, according to the report.

Pillows, blankets and couch cushions were cited as types of soft bedding that contributed to these deaths, the researchers noted.

Nineteen percent of the suffocation deaths were due to “overlay.” That means someone was on top of the infant when the baby died. Most of the time it was a parent, but in 22% of overlay deaths, a sibling was on top of the baby.

The remaining 12% of infant suffocation deaths were attributed to “wedging.” This is when a baby gets wedged between a mattress and another surface. Half the time, the other surface was a wall. In roughly one-quarter of cases, it was the bedframe. Three-quarters of these deaths occurred in an adult bed. Nearly half occurred when a baby was sleeping with another person.

Continued

Dr. Maryann Buetti-Sgouros, chair of pediatrics at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y., wasn’t surprised by the findings, but she did express frustration.

“These are all deaths that were preventable; these were unnecessary deaths,” she said.

Some parents tell her they feel better if their baby is close so they can respond if he or she needs something. “Or, some parents feel their baby is advanced enough to be able to sleep on their stomach, because they saw the baby roll over once,” she added.

But the study found almost 90% of babies between 0 and 4 months of age, and nearly 70% of infants from 5 to 11 months who died of suffocation were found on their stomachs.

“It’s just not worth the risk,” Buetti-Sgouros said.

She urged parents to follow the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) guidelines, which recommend babies be placed on their backs to sleep. AAP recommends that infants sleep in the same room with parents for the first 12 months of life — but not in the same bed. Buetti-Sgouros said it’s fine to have the baby’s crib in your room, so that the baby is still close.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (which provided funding for the study) also recommends that parents:

  • Put baby to sleep on a firm sleep surface.
  • Keep pillows, bumpers, blankets and soft toys out of the baby’s sleeping area.

Erck Lambert said it isn’t clear from this study why some parents continue to put babies to sleep on their stomachs, or let them sleep on soft surfaces. But she hopes the findings will help “better target prevention efforts.”

The findings were published online April 22 in Pediatrics.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Alexa Erck Lambert, M.P.H., program manager and epidemiologist, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, SUID and SDY case registry, DB Consulting Group, Silver Spring, Md.; Maryann Buetti-Sgouros, M.D., chair of pediatrics, Northern Westchester Hospital, Mount Kisco, N.Y.;  April 22, 2019,Pediatrics, online

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

Babies Still Dying Due to Unsafe Sleep Practices

MONDAY, April 22, 2019 — The death of a baby is always tragic, but safe sleep practices could have prevented some recent suffocation deaths, new research claims.

The study found two factors appeared to be behind a majority of infant deaths by suffocation:

  • A baby not sleeping on his or her back.
  • A baby sleeping in an adult bed.

“Although this is a small proportion of sudden unexpected infant deaths, many suffocation deaths can be prevented,” said study author Alexa Erck Lambert. She is an epidemiologist at DB Consulting Group in Silver Spring, Md.

While the rates of accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed are low, they’re on the rise.

In 1999, six such deaths were recorded. In 2015, that number rose to 23 babies, according to background information in the study.

The authors noted that the rise in these deaths may be due to more precise definitions of causes-of-death. They added that current statistics may underestimate the problem.

For the new study, the researchers reviewed more than 1,800 infant deaths in a database of sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUID) from 2011 to 2014. In all, 250 babies — 14% — died from suffocation.

The cause of 69% of these deaths was soft bedding. And almost all — 92% — of the babies who died from suffocation on soft bedding weren’t sleeping on their backs. They were found on their side or on their stomach. Nearly half were in adult beds when they died, according to the report.

Pillows, blankets and couch cushions were cited as types of soft bedding that contributed to these deaths, the researchers noted.

Nineteen percent of the suffocation deaths were due to “overlay.” That means someone was on top of the infant when the baby died. Most of the time it was a parent, but in 22% of overlay deaths, a sibling was on top of the baby.

The remaining 12% of infant suffocation deaths were attributed to “wedging.” This is when a baby gets wedged between a mattress and another surface. Half the time, the other surface was a wall. In roughly one-quarter of cases, it was the bedframe. Three-quarters of these deaths occurred in an adult bed. Nearly half occurred when a baby was sleeping with another person.

Dr. Maryann Buetti-Sgouros, chair of pediatrics at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y., wasn’t surprised by the findings, but she did express frustration.

“These are all deaths that were preventable; these were unnecessary deaths,” she said.

Some parents tell her they feel better if their baby is close so they can respond if he or she needs something. “Or, some parents feel their baby is advanced enough to be able to sleep on their stomach, because they saw the baby roll over once,” she added.

But the study found almost 90% of babies between 0 and 4 months of age, and nearly 70% of infants from 5 to 11 months who died of suffocation were found on their stomachs.

“It’s just not worth the risk,” Buetti-Sgouros said.

She urged parents to follow the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) guidelines, which recommend babies be placed on their backs to sleep. AAP recommends that infants sleep in the same room with parents for the first 12 months of life — but not in the same bed. Buetti-Sgouros said it’s fine to have the baby’s crib in your room, so that the baby is still close.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (which provided funding for the study) also recommends that parents:

  • Put baby to sleep on a firm sleep surface.
  • Keep pillows, bumpers, blankets and soft toys out of the baby’s sleeping area.

Erck Lambert said it isn’t clear from this study why some parents continue to put babies to sleep on their stomachs, or let them sleep on soft surfaces. But she hopes the findings will help “better target prevention efforts.”

The findings were published online April 22 in Pediatrics.

More information

Learn more about preventing sudden infant deaths and suffocation from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: April 2019

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CDC: Most Children Dying From Flu Not Vaccinated

Feb. 15, 2018 — As in the past, most children who have died of the flu so far this season had not been vaccinated, according to the CDC.

Of the 63 confirmed child deaths from the flu, investigators have health histories on 56 of them.

Of the 54 kids who were old enough to get the flu vaccine, only 14 — or 26% — had gotten at least one dose, according to a flu update published today in the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

About half of the children who died had underlying medical conditions that made them more vulnerable to severe complications from the flu, and 60% had been admitted to the hospital before they died.

The children ranged in age from 2 months to 17 years.

“She was eating Cheerios last night,” said her grandmother, Tameka Stettler. “She was walking last night. How does that just happen?”

Buddy Creech, MD, a pediatrician and a spokesman for the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society in Arlington, VA, said both children and adults with flu can suddenly get worse after seeming to improve, and it can happen very fast.

“This sort of double hit is well characterized with flu,” he says. “It’s important for parents to realize it can happen.”

Not only is the flu miserable by itself, it also primes the body for secondary infections. It does this two ways: It weakens the immune system for a while, and it causes your nasal passages to go bald.

Normally, you have tiny hairs called cilia that line the nasal passages. They’re there to snare and sweep away any bacteria that try to get in. The flu causes those hairs, and the protective layer of mucus that sits underneath them, to slough off. That allows the bacteria that normally hang out on the surface of our skin to invade, Creech said.

“It can change the way the bacteria in your nose and throat can gain access to deeper parts of your body,” says Creech, who is also director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program in Nashville.

It takes about 7 days after you’re first infected for this natural protective layer to grow back.

“What we do know is that those who get vaccinated — even in years where there’s a bit of a mismatch — are typically more protected, not just from severe flu, but flu itself,” Creech says.

He says parents need to look out for other infections for at least a week after a flu diagnosis. Signs that kids are getting sick a second time include:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Not acting well, even when the fever comes down
  • Complaining of pain in a specific area
  • A cough that lingers or gets worse, even as other symptoms seem to be improving

Creech says two of his kids have had the flu in the last week, so this is something he’s thinking about right now. He says the signs of a second infection can be subtle.

“Even as a pediatrician, I look at them and sometimes it’s hard to tell,” he says.

The bottom line, Creech says, is that you know your kids better than anyone else. If they don’t seem right, call a doctor.

“I think every pediatrician on the planet, if a parent is concerned, wants them to call and ask questions,” he says.

Because we’re only about halfway through the flu season, it’s still not too late to get a child vaccinated. The CDC recommends the flu vaccine for all children older than 6 months of age.

Kids who are getting the flu vaccine for the first time need a double dose. This is called the two-shot prime. The two shots are given about a month apart. If you aren’t sure whether your child has had that double dose, ask your pediatrician.

If your child missed the two-shot prime, the CDC recommends getting them another dose this year.

Sources

Time.com, “A 3-Year_Old Indiana Girl Who Was Not Vaccinated Died From Flu This Week”

Buddy Creech, MD, director, Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program, Vanderbilt University, Nashville.

Feb. 12, 2018, news report, RTV6, ABC, The Indy Channel.

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Feb. 15, 2018.

© 2018 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

WebMD Health

Death Brings Wisdom to Dying Patients

SATURDAY, Jan. 27, 2018 — With terminal illness comes newfound, and profound, wisdom, researchers report.

They uncovered this silver lining of terminal illness as people in their final months tried to strike a balance between accepting their fate and making the most of the time they had left.

“The end of life presents a unique perspective,” explained senior study author Dr. Dilip Jeste, senior associate dean at the University of California, San Diego’s Center of Healthy Aging.

“This is an extremely challenging time, a confluence of learning to accept what’s happening while still striving to grow and change and live one’s remaining life as best one can,” Jeste said in a university news release. “It’s this paradox that, if embraced, can lead to even greater wisdom while confronting one’s own mortality.”

The study, funded in part by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the American Cancer Society, involved 21 men and women between the ages of 58 and 97 who were in the final six months of their lives and receiving hospice care. About half of the patients were dying of cancer.

The researchers asked these people opened-ended questions about wisdom, such as “How do you define wisdom?” and “What experiences have influenced your level of wisdom?” The patients were also asked if their illness had altered their understanding of wisdom. Each of the interviews was recorded, enabling the researchers to analyze and interpret the responses.

The participants ranked traits associated with wisdom. The most important quality listed was having prosocial behaviors, followed by demonstrating social decision-making, emotional regulation, openness to new experiences, awareness of uncertainty, spirituality and self-reflection, as well as having a sense of humor and being tolerant.

The patients admitted that facing their own mortality and imminent death dramatically changed how they viewed wisdom. “My perspective, my outlook on life, my outlook on everything has changed,” said one of the patients. “It’s grown tremendously.”

One common experience among the terminally ill was their desire to find peace or acceptance as their health declined and they lost their ability to function normally.

According to study first author Lori Montross-Thomas, “It wasn’t passive ‘giving up,’ but rather an active coping process. They emphasized how much they appreciated life, taking time to reflect. There was a keen sense of fully enjoying the time they had left and, in doing so, finding the beauty in everyday life.”

Montross-Thomas is assistant adjunct professor in UCSD’s department of family medicine and public health.

One study participant said: “For all my life, being a Southerner and having been in beauty contests, I got up in the morning, put my full makeup on and did my hair every day. A lady was never in her nightgown unless she was giving birth! Now all that is very, very difficult for me… I’ve accepted it, and I’ve realized that I have to let it go… I try to take all this with as much graciousness as possible and I’ve realized that my friends really don’t care that I don’t have makeup on or I’m in my nightgown. They are just happy to see me out of bed sitting on a chair.”

The patients also found that living with a fatal disease stimulated growth, leading to more determination, gratitude and optimism. The researchers noted this path to increased wisdom ebbed and flowed as the patients struggled to find balance, peace and happiness at the end of their lives.

Many patients focused on looking for the positive instead of the negative. “I want them to remember me with a smile, laughing and giggling and doing some of the silly things we do,” one person said. “Why do you want to leave on a sad note? I do not want to be remembered being sad.”

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about the end of life.

© 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: January 2018

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Despite Warnings, Kids Are Still Dying in Hot Cars

       

By Dennis Thompson

       

         HealthDay Reporter        

     

FRIDAY, July 14, 2017 (HealthDay News) — On July 2, a 7-week-old baby boy died after being left in his grandmother’s van for almost eight hours on a hot summer day in Mary Esther, FL.

The boy’s mother placed the infant in a rear-facing car seat in the van after church. But the grandmother wasn’t told the baby was in the vehicle, according to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s office.

By the time the grandmother realized the baby was in the van, he had already died from the heat.

Sadly, that youngster isn’t alone. Dozens of children die every year from heat stroke after being left in a hot car, most often because a parent forgot them in the back seat, child safety experts explained.

“It’s surprisingly common, and the thing that’s most important is it’s 100-percent preventable,” said Dr. Ben Hoffman, director of the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Tom Sargent Safety Center in Portland, Ore. “Anybody is capable of forgetting a child in a car.”

Seven hundred kids died between 1998 and 2016 from overheating in a stiflingly hot car, according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

More than half the time, the child died because their caregiver forgot they were in the vehicle and left them behind, the NHTSA said.

These tragedies most often occur due to miscommunication, absent-mindedness or an overloaded schedule, said Lorrie Walker, a training and technical advisor for the advocacy group Safe Kids Worldwide.

“Parents don’t necessarily do this on purpose, or because they’re not a good parent,” Walker said. “It’s really easy to point fingers and say these are terrible people, and they’re not. This is just a failure of circumstance that leads to the horrendous and horrific death of their child.”

Heat stroke is the leading cause of non-crash-related vehicle deaths for children 14 and under, according to the NHTSA.

In 54 percent of cases, the child died because they were forgotten in the car, according to federal statistics. Only 17 percent of the time do children die because an adult intentionally left them in the car.

Continued

“These are the ones we really, really struggle with, because we tell people over and over not to leave your child alone in a car, not even for one minute,” Walker said.

Cars heat up very quickly, even in conditions a person might reasonably consider safe, the NHTSA warned.

For example, car-related heat stroke can occur on cloudy days or in shaded areas, the agency said. A car interior can heat as much as 20 degrees within 10 minutes. And even at an outside temperature of 60 degrees, it can reach 110 degrees inside the car.

“Sunlight playing against the windows of a car make it like a convection oven,” Walker said.

Rolling down a window a bit does nothing to relieve temperatures inside, Walker added.

“Cracking a window has no effect on this,” Walker said. “It’s totally meaningless. It does not do anything.”

Children are particularly vulnerable to heat stroke. Their body temperature heats up three to five times that of adults, the NHTSA said. Heat stroke begins when core temperature reaches about 104 degrees, and a temperature of 107 is lethal.

Many states have outlawed leaving children unattended in a vehicle. In June, three members of Congress introduced the Hot Cars Act of 2017,  which would require cars to be equipped with a system to alert drivers if a passenger remains in the back seat after the engine is shut off.

“Our cars can already alert drivers when they leave their keys in the car, their lights on, or their trunk open — none of which are life-threatening,” Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, one of the sponsors, said in a news release.

“It is not unusual for the government to mandate safety features to protect lives. Cars are mandated to have seat belts, interior trunk-releases and rear backup cameras. Our legislation would move us one step closer to getting this inexpensive technology in every car on the road to help save the lives of children nationwide,” Ryan added.

Similar warning devices are already available, but most parents don’t use them because they don’t think this could ever happen to them, Walker said.

Continued

She recommends that parents leave something important in the back seat with their child — their cellphone, briefcase, gym bag, wallet or purse — as an added incentive to open the back door upon arriving at their destination.

But Hoffman said such self-reminders don’t always work.

“There are a lot of clever things people have tried that really have not been shown to necessarily make a difference,” Hoffman said. “There’s really no substitute for just being vigilant. Parents should do anything they can to get in the habit of never leaving a kid alone in a car. If a child is never left alone in a car, this would never happen.”

Walker added that anyone who sees a child left unattended in a car should immediately contact authorities.

“Immediately call 911. Don’t give it a second thought,” she said.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Ben Hoffman, M.D., director, Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Tom Sargent Safety Center, Portland, Ore.; Lorrie Walker, training and technical advisor, Safe Kids Worldwide; Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, news release, Sept. 15, 2016

Copyright © 2013-2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

WebMD Health

Many of Oldest Old Say They’re at Peace With Dying

Study finds most people over 95 are simply grateful for every day

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Mary Elizabeth Dallas

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, April 5, 2016 (HealthDay News) — People well into their 90s are often willing to talk about death, but they’re rarely asked about it, a new British study finds.

“Despite the dramatic rise in the number of people living into very old age, there is far too little discussion about what the ‘oldest old’ feel about the end of their lives,” said study leader Jane Fleming. “We know very little, too, about the difficult decisions concerning their end-of-life care.”

Fleming is with the University of Cambridge’s public health and primary care department.

The researchers interviewed several dozen people over 95 years old — or their relatives or caregivers if they were too frail — about their attitudes on death and end-of-life care.

According to the study, published April 5 in PLOS ONE, most had outlived their peers. Many felt they were living on “borrowed time.” They also felt grateful for each passing day, and didn’t worry too much about the future.

“It is only day-from-day when you get to 97,” said one participant.

The researchers noted that most of the older people interviewed felt prepared to die. “I’m ready to go,” said one woman. “I just say I’m the lady-in-waiting, waiting to go.”

In some cases, the participants felt as if they had become a burden on others or were anxious to finally reach the end of their long lives.

Many were more concerned about how they died than when. They hoped they would “slip away quietly” in their sleep and that their death would be painless. “I’d be quite happy if I went suddenly like that,” said one.

Few participants said they would want to be hospitalized if they became sick.

When asked if they would prefer lifesaving medical care or treatment to help them remain comfortable, most opted for comfort. Most were also not afraid of dying. For some, witnessing the peaceful death of others helped them manage their fears.

One woman recalled her parents’ deaths, saying, “They were alive, then they were dead, but it all went off as usual. Nothing really dramatic or anything. Why should it be any different for me?”

WebMD Health

Families: Hospice Best for Dying Cancer Patients

Doctors need to heed preferences of patients, prepare for end of life sooner, experts say

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Steven Reinberg

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Jan. 19, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Families of patients dying of cancer felt their loved one had better care and quality of life when they died in a hospice rather than in a hospital’s intensive care unit, a new study reveals.

Relatives reported a better end-of-life experience more often when their loved one received hospice care for more than three days (59 percent) than those who received hospice care for three or fewer days (43 percent). Moreover, only 45 percent of families reported excellent care when the patient was admitted to a hospital intensive care unit (ICU) within 30 days of dying, the researchers found.

“Our findings are a powerful argument for the importance of advance care planning,” said lead researcher Dr. Alexi Wright, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

How and where people die strongly shapes patients’ dying experience and how family members remember it, she said.

“In this study we found that patients’ preferences influenced the care that they received. Now we need to ensure that patients and their family members have the information they need to make choices about their end-of-life experiences and plan for it,” Wright said.

The report was published Jan. 19 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a special themed issue on end-of-life care.

For the study, Wright and her colleagues collected data on more than 1,100 cancer patients. The investigators used data from interviews with family members of Medicare patients with advanced lung or colon cancer from a study of patients who died by the end of 2011.

The researchers also found that only 42 percent of families of patients who died in the hospital said their loved one had excellent end-of-life care, compared with 57 percent of families whose loved ones died at home or in a hospice.

In addition, family members of patients who did not receive hospice care or received three or fewer days of hospice care were less likely to report the patient died in their preferred location (40 percent) than those who received hospice care for more than three days (73 percent).

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Story-Based Dying Light Expansion Revealed, Adds Vehicles and More

Dead Island developer’s zombie game Dying Light is set to grow with a new “feature-heavy” and story-based expansion called The Following, Techland announced on Wednesday. This is the expansion that Techland teased last week.

As rumored, The Following will introduce dune buggy vehicles that players can apparently use to mow down zombies. The expansion sounds like a big one overall, according to its official description, which also notes that Techland has listened to feedback from the main game.

“For Dying Light: The Following, we’re adding a number of bold game-changers to create one massive expansion,” Dying Light producer Tymon Smektala said. “Something big that will give the game a brand-new flavor. The new map alone is the same size as all the previous maps from Dying Light combined, so there is a lot we’re packing in here.”

“We also kept a close eye on player feedback to help tailor what we’ve created here,” he added. “Hopefully people will see that this new expansion is first and foremost, for the fans.”

The Following will be available free through the $ 20 Dying Light DLC pass. It will also be made available to buy on its own, though pricing has not been announced. The expansion will be shown to journalists behind closed doors next week at Gamescom, with a full reveal slated for “shortly after.”

For now, you can take a look at the first screenshots of The Following below. A release date for The Following was not announced.

Dying Light launched in January 2015 and broke Dead Island sales records. By Techland’s most recent count, Dying Light had 4.5 million players.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com


eddienoteddy

Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Dying Light

GameSpot

Americans’ Risk of Dying From Cancer Is Falling, CDC Finds


Your Risk of Dying From Cancer Is Falling: CDC

But, due to aging population, actual number of cancer deaths is rising

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Steven Reinberg

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, July 2, 2015 (HealthDay News) — The risk that any one American will die from cancer — the cancer death rate — is going down, regardless of sex or race, a new government study reports.

However, because the United States has a growing aging population, the overall number of people dying from cancer is on the rise, officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

“While we are making progress in reducing cancer death rates, we still have real work to do to reduce cancer deaths among our aging population,” said lead researcher Mary White, a scientist in the CDC’s division of cancer prevention and control.

Between 2007 and 2020, cancer deaths are expected to rise more than 10 percent among men and black women, the report found. Among white women, the number of cancer deaths will start to stabilize, increasing less than 5 percent during this period, according to the CDC researchers.

“Further declines in cancer deaths might be achieved if we can reach other national targets for addressing risk factors,” White said.

These include cutting exposure to tobacco and UV radiation, increasing cancer screening for early detection, and improving access to health care to increase early treatment and survival, she said.

White said that a decline in cancer death rates — even as the actual number of cancer deaths rises — is not a paradox.

“Death rates are calculated by dividing the number of cancer deaths by the number of people in the population,” she explained.

The number of older adults continues to grow, White explained. “Because death rates for many cancers increase with age, the number of people who die from cancer is also predicted to grow, even while death rates decline,” she said.

Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center in New Haven, Conn., agreed that reducing cancer deaths and reducing cancer are not the same.

“Cancer death rates are declining markedly, which is excellent news and testimony to the power of early detection and improving treatments,” said Katz, who was not involved with the study.

WebMD Health

Can This Test Predict Your Risk of Dying by 2020?

By Peter Russell
WebMD News from HealthDay

Reviewed by Farah Ahmed, MD

June 4, 2015 — An online test may accurately predict your risk of dying before the end of this decade if you’re between 40 and 70 years old, the scientists who created it say. The research about it is published in The Lancet.

The exam is aimed at users in the United Kingdom, but you can access it here. Its accuracy for people in countries outside the U.K. is unknown, according to the web site.

Test-takers answer “a simple set of a dozen or so questions” with a click of the mouse and receive their chances of dying within the next 5 years, says study co-author Professor Erik Ingelsson from Uppsala University in Sweden.

The test gives the user their “Ubble age.” That’s the age where the average risk of dying (if you’re living in the U.K.) most closely matches the estimated risk for the person taking the test. Ubble stands for UK Longevity Explorer, and the scientists who invented it claim it is 80% accurate.

This is the first study of its kind that is based on a very large number of people, Ingelsson says. But some experts are questioning how much of a useful tool the test really is.

How It Makes Its Predictions

To create a test-taker’s death risk score, Ingelsson and Dr. Andrea Ganna, from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, analyzed data collected between 2006 and 2010 from records in the UK Biobank of nearly half a million adults between the ages of 40 and 70.

They then calculated which health and lifestyle factors most accurately indicate the chances of dying in the short term.

They found that self-reported information, such as usual walking pace, illness, and injuries in the past 2 years, is generally more reliable at predicting the risk of death or survival than biological tests of things like pulse rate and blood pressure.

Walking pace, assessed as “slow,” “steady,” or “brisk,” is a stronger predictor of death risk in both men and women than smoking habits and other lifestyle measurements, the scientists says. How people rated their own health was the single most powerful predictor of death in men, while a previous cancer diagnosis was the strongest predictor in women. When the researchers excluded people with serious diseases or disorders, smoking habits emerged as the most reliable predictor of whether someone would die from any cause.

WebMD Health