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Younger seniors reporting more disabilities

Americans in their 60s are living with more disabilities than did their cohorts from previous generations. And that could overwhelm the country's health care system, according to a study published online Nov. 12 by the American Journal of Public Health ( The authors compared two National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data sets, for 1988-1994 and for 1999-2004, to examine disabilities for adults age 60 to 69, 70 to 79, and 80 and older. All age groups reported significant declines in physical activity. But the youngest group had the greatest increase in reported disabilities. The authors assessed the disability trends of 8,927 individuals based on their responses to questions addressing four areas: basic activities of daily life (including getting out of bed); instrumental activities (including household chores); mobility (including climbing 10 steps without stopping) and functional limitations (inclu ...

Charity care found straining practices in Pennsylvania

More patients are asking for medical care at no cost, and physicians are struggling to meet the increase in requests, according to a report issued Nov. 18 by the Pennsylvania Medical Society's Institute for Good Medicine. "Even though our physician members are doing more for the uninsured and underinsured, many feel they're reaching their limit," said Peter Lund, MD, the institute's founder, and a urologist in Erie. "With the state of the economy, I'm not surprised by this year's findings, and, clearly, this could signal problems ahead." Approximately 80% of member physicians surveyed donated time, resources or both, and those donations added up to a cash equivalent of $400 million, according to the institute. The survey said 57% felt the demand for charitable care had increased; 62% felt levels had become unsustainable. The American Medical Association's Code of Medical Ethics says physicians should work to ensure that the needs of the poor in their communities are met. If ph ...

Med school enrollment up, but residency slots remain flat

American allopathic medical schools enrolled 18,390 first-year students for 2009, a 2% increase from last year and a new high, according to the Assn. of American Medical Colleges. Four new medical schools accounted for half of the 2009 increase: FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine in Miami; University of Central Florida College of Medicine in Orlando; The Commonwealth Medical College in Scranton, Pa.; and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Paul L. Foster School of Medicine in El Paso. Of the other 127 AAMC-member schools, 57 increased the size of their first-year classes by more than 10%, according to the AAMC. The number of enrollees has grown steadily since 1999, when there were 16,221 first-year students. Applicants to osteopathic medical schools also increased this year. Nearly 13,000 applicants competed for 5,100 available slots, according to the American Assn. of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine. The increase of nearly 9% from the previous year set a recor ...