Vaccines for Pancreatic Cancer

Advances in medicine continue to astound us. Over the years, conditions that were once thought a near-immediate death sentence now have treatments that will extend patients’ lives for months or years beyond the initial diagnosis. With the death of business icon Steve Jobs, interest in vaccines for pancreatic cancer – a disease that kills 95% of those who have it within five years – has increased dramatically. The good news is, unlike many other forms of cancer, there are actually some promising early trials moving into larger studies. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have created a novel treatment for the disease, one so intuitive it could end up creating dramatic change for the treatment of cancer in other tissues. Here’s what you need to know:


Simple and to the Point

Much like any vaccine, this one acts to stimulate the immune system. What makes this treatment unique is the ability to use this built-in response to attack tissues that generally find a way to hide undetected by the body’s natural defenses. Using dead pancreatic cancer cells altered to create a special chemical called GM-CSF, immune cells are enticed to develop antigens against this molecule quickly. Then, acting like a roving band of vigilantes in search of a criminal, they spread out to other tissues and fight active cancer cells. The resulting interaction slows the progression of tumors, possibly allowing other, time-tested therapies an extended period to do the work of killing the deadly growth.


Research is Ongoing

The vaccine, being relatively new in pharmaceutical terms, has only just moved into clinical trials. These tests, which include hundreds or thousands of patients instead of three or four dozen, will determine the fate of TeloVac – so named because it works on the telomerase enzyme cancer cells use to keep from dying. Essentially, scientists are attempting to figure out the best combination of vaccine and chemotherapy to use, a difficult balance that must ensure the immune system is allowed to attack the tumor at the same time radiation is being used to kill it. Researchers are looking into three different methods of counteracting the disease: a general dose of radiation and vaccine, a targeted application of both, and separate interventions. If all goes well, results are expected to be released in 2012.


It’s Not a Cure

The fact of the matter is pancreatic cancer is incredibly tricky. The condition is often silent for months or years, only manifesting when it has progressed to the extent of invading other tissues. At this point, time is short for the individual who gets the bad news. The idea, at this point, is not to reverse the cancer and return the tissue to a normal, healthy state. The limits of the vaccine – both in its scope and the length of time it’s been tested – mean it is used only to buy time. However, when you are faced with the possibility of surviving for several months as opposed to a few weeks, those precious extra days are worth celebrating.

How to Live Independently and Safe

There is something uniquely comforting about your own home. However, as you age, figuring out how to live independently and safe will become a concern. Try as you might, eventually you will face a decrease in your vision and loss of flexibility. You will remain as active as possible, of course, but time catches up with us all in the end. The key is to take steps to ensure you can stay in the house you worked so hard to own and the good news is there are a handful of simple changes you can make to help you remain there as long as possible.
The most common cause of injury and death among retirees is a fall – the Centers for Disease Prevention and control estimates reducing the tripping hazards in a home could make a significant difference in the number of broken bones suffered by people 65 and older. Here are some basic precautions to help you avoid becoming a statistic
Make the bathroom walk-in friendly
Slick tile floors can be a challenge to navigate safely when you are a world-class athlete, let alone when your balance isn’t what it used to be. Getting in and out of the tub is the biggest hazard, as it requires transferring with one leg lifted high over a barrier. A growing number of companies have designed special walk-in combination bathtubs that have low entry points and a waist-high, watertight door. Most give you the option of sitting or standing as you bathe, using a removable showerhead to reach as much as six feet from the wall.
Exchange shelves for drawers
Under-counter shelves are frequently used in the kitchen for storing pots and pans, but they can pose a danger to seniors who will be tempted to bend over or get down on all fours to dig for a saucepan. This creates an unsteady stance that can lead to strained muscles, too. Adding drawers allows the sought-after item to be pulled out instead of reached for, a basic modification that leads to major changes.
Watch your step
It seems straightforward, but are the walkways in your home free and clear? This goes beyond a pair of shoes in the hall – are there loose rugs or slick spots? Paying attention to the surfaces will keep you from being caught off guard when you set foot in a room. Also, be sure to place nightlights in each room and ensure there are light switches inside each door. Being able to flip on a lamp quickly will make those late-night trips to the refrigerator about a piece of pie instead of a hospital visit waiting to happen.
Be by the phone
In the event of an emergency, the ability to communicate is crucial. Every room in the house should have a telephone available. (You can turn the ringer off on several of them, if the noise is too much.) In addition, it’s smart to have a charged cell phone handy, whether you carry it in a pocket as you walk around your home or as a backup in case your line is down. When time is of the essence, you’ll want to be sure you can get a hold of someone as fast as possible.

5 Ways to Boost Happiness

As decades of work turns into free time in retirement, it is natural to feel a bit confused as you make the transition. Where you once spent your entire day cooped up in an office with several other people, it can be tempting to begin spending hours on end cooped up in your house alone. Of course, that’s no way to spend your golden years! Unfortunately, a large segment of retirees find themselves feeling down – or worse, diagnosed with depression – as they lose the sense of identity once attached to their work.

It doesn’t have to be that way, though! If you find yourself dealing with the blues, remember these five ways to boost happiness and you’ll be back on the sunny side of the street before long:

Build new relationships and strengthen older ones

There’s no way around it, human beings are social creatures. As you separate from the workplace, take care to maintain the friendships you cherish. Meet an old buddy for lunch every once in a while to catch up on life, it will give both of you a much-needed break from the daily routine. That’s not all, though, you’ll want to seek out opportunities to reconnect with family, too. And, since you have so many extra hours in the day, you can get out and meet some new people to widen your circle. Do your best to find avenues to stimulating conversation, whether it’s with a child home from college or fellow gardening fanatic.

Forgive freely

If you’re like most people, old wounds can creep into your mind when there aren’t other activities to keep your brain busy. Everyone has been through bad experiences and – whether we know it or not – mistreated someone. Find a way to release all that pent-up energy, as it is toxic waste to your emotional state. Without releasing the pain, either through a long journal entry or a polite conversation, you leave yourself susceptible to focusing on negative circumstances – an antidote to happiness if there ever was one.

Engage in something meaningful to you

There is nothing quite like a worthy cause to energize people. Find a way to connect with an organization doing good in your community, whether it’s providing services to cancer patients or helping children from rough neighborhoods learn how to read. The fact of the matter, despite how you may feel, is that you have a wealth of knowledge and experience that could make a difference in someone else’s life. When you dedicate time to the pursuit of something larger than yourself, you are more likely to encounter joy and fulfillment. Plus, you will be able to share your passion with another, which might light a fire that burns bright well into the future.

Stay active

It seems like the list of benefits tied to regular exercise gets longer and longer every day. Studies continually show that maintaining even a basic level of fitness is good for more than your body – your brain gets a good workout, too. Though the mechanisms aren’t fully understood, scientists have discovered links between emotional health and physical activity, as well as delays in the onset of memory loss or dementia.

Find ways to be grateful

It might sound a bit trite, but counting your blessings is a simple way to get back in a good frame of mind. Strange as it is to say, you can’t really focus on more than one thing at a time. If you are holding onto pictures of the best things in your life – great family and friends, fun hobbies – you will find it easier to brush off something that tries to bring you down. When you start to feel your mood shift into a lower gear, quickly name ten things that make you smile (then another ten and another, if necessary).

Driving Tips for Seniors

Aging brings about changes of all kinds, some which challenge your independence. There is nothing quite like the feeling of being able to hop in your car and go for a spin whenever you choose. However, reaction times slow as the years wear on, so it’s necessary to be aware of a few safe driving tips for seniors to ensure you stay safe on the roads. After decades maneuvering two tons of steel around, letting go of that freedom can be tough to swallow – but there will come a day when you must, for your sake and that of other drivers. You may not be prepared to hand over the keys, nor may you need to yet, just monitor these factors to be sure you make the most of your remaining time behind the wheel:

Plan When You Drive

Choose the time of day

More people are on the highways and byways during rush hour, everybody knows that. The vast increase in cars creates a greater chance for an accident, especially if an angry driver cuts you off trying to get to an exit. Avoid the traffic snarls by heading out during off-peak hours unless you absolutely have to and do your best to keep from driving at night or during bad weather – the decreased visibility makes it that much tougher on everyone.

Know the way

It sounds simple, but one way to minimize distractions while you’re behind the wheel is to lay out your route ahead of time. At the very least, you can make things easier by not backtracking, though it might be helpful to have a reminder of when you need to turn, too.

Go Back to School

Refresh the rules of the road

Though you may still feel just as spry as you did the day you got your driver’s license, the fact of the matter is a lot of things have changed. Several organizations, such as the AARP and AAA, offer safe driving courses geared specifically toward retirees. And, if you take the class, you might be eligible for discounts on your car insurance, too.

Take Care of You

Manage your physical health

We all know taking care of the body is crucial to living well, dealing with achy joints is a challenge when you are out for a walk or climbing stairs. It can become a big problem, though, if you are unable to turn your head to see the blind spot when changing lanes. As you go through your workout routine – and before you climb in the car – take some time to do some flexibility exercises.

Get your eyes checked

Most people have an annual visit to the eye doctor anyway, so this is pretty much a no-brainer. Be sure to keep your prescriptions up to date and pay attention to any advice he or she has. Your eyesight is one of your most valuable assets when driving and, as it fades, you will transfer to the passenger seat.

Pay attention to the signs

Suffering from some brain fog? Having a tough time seeing the road signs? Feel like your medications make you woozy at certain times of day? These are all indications your time driving must be limited or will come to an end. It can be tough to admit that you have to call time on your experience on the road, but you know your body better than anyone. Make an honest assessment periodically, then begin coordinating with family members and friends for rides as necessary.

IRA Plan for USA Taxation

When it comes to retirement planning, you have a lot of options. Depending on where you work and your financial status, you could have a 401(k), real estate, and life insurance policies that will provide funding for your lifestyle after your last day on the job. However, many of these accounts are subject to taxation based on regulations from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). After years of gains through the stock market, you might find a large chunk of your annuities disappears, but you might find ways to mitigate those losses by investing in an individual retirement account (IRA). Why? There are three keys:
1. After-tax Money
When you have an employer-sponsored 401(k), the funds you contribute are set aside before the federal government reaches in to take its share. Because of this, you pay income tax on them when withdrawals begin. Roth IRAs are just the opposite – you’ll use money from your take-home pay to build the account and it won’t be taxed again when you begin to use it.
2. Additional Deductions
If you opt for a Traditional IRA (as opposed to a Roth), the IRS allows for deductions on your annual return – something you can’t do with a 401(k). The Taxpayer Relief act of 1997 set up these provisions and raised the maximum contribution to help lower-income families benefit from additional resources.
3. Contribution Limits
One of the drawbacks of using an IRA is the maximum funding you can put into your account each year is significantly less than a 401(k), which has a limit of $16,500. It’s important to keep in mind that, despite the fact you are only able to reserve $5,000 annually, you can fill as many accounts as you like so long as you fit the criteria for earnings and can afford it.
No matter what you do, be sure to consult with your accountant or financial planner. A trusted professional can help you identify the advantages of one investment over another, all while keeping the larger scope of your entire portfolio in mind.

5 Questions for Your Retirement Investment Plan

No matter your age, getting money together for your golden years is a major concern. Throughout your working life you’ll be bombarded by advice and sales pitches, making it all the more difficult to find the right financial path. All we know for certain is it’s never too early to start saving, that’s the easy part. But, after that, what else should you ask when making your Retirement Investment Plan? Here are five things to think about as you get going:
When will you retire?
The rest of your decisions will spin off the answer to this question. Your age and planned retirement date will determine how you invest and, to some extent, what your goals are. Conventional wisdom points the young towards more aggressive, stock-based strategies and guides those nearing retirement to stable bond- or annuity-centered assets.
What do you have?
Your retirement portfolio can include a wide variety of options. Many people have a 401(k) from an employer or a Roth IRA and a savings account of some kind. What you bring to the table at the start will help define the necessary steps to ensure your investments are diversified appropriately to help you reach your goals.
Where will money come from?
Understanding the assets you have will give you an idea of which funds will be disbursed when. If, for example, you own real estate properties that provide a steady monthly income, you may be able to allow your other investments to gain value before making any withdrawals.
Who can you talk to?
Though it is entirely possible for you to handle the task on your own, chances are you’ll want to get some help along the way. It can be challenging to figure out the difference between a trusted professional and a thinly-disguised salesperson. Talk with friends and colleagues about who they work with, then make some calls.
How disciplined are you?
The point of doing Retirement Planning from investment point of view is to set you on a course for financial security when your working life is over. This means you will have to stick to whatever strategy for investing and spending you come up with for the long haul. Do a gut check and make sure you’re willing to follow through, your future depends on it.

Career after retirement

Are you looking for alternate career options after retirement? As a senior in America, you do have many jobs to choose from these days. Baby boomers are becoming bank tellers, security screeners, tour guides, home care assistants…We’re sure you’ll find job satisfaction and benefits in more than one of the careers we are going to suggest for your older years. Today, older people in the US are getting a lot of happiness even from simple careers like making coffee or serving as floral assistants. Remember, until you test the waters, you can never know which career will really make you feel good.

Given below are some of the alternate career options that you will love after retirement:-
Freelance Writing – Experience matters, especially to writers. You have learned a lot from life-you have experience on your side. Now, you really have time that you can plan at your will. So, why don’t you use this time to share your wisdom with others? Novelists are not the only writers who earn money. You can earn by freelancing for on-line media companies, magazines and newspapers. It’s never too late to start. Why not send a few articles to newspapers and magazines just like that, and see if they like how you write?

Become a Graphic Designer – Another career in which you can work from home. You can design anything from brochures, banners, posters, advertisements or even websites. For this job, however, you may need a graphic design degree along with experience in design programs.
Consider Hobby Jobs – It’s payback time! If you have a hobby you’ve always been passionate about, you can teach others how to do it as well as you. Whether you are into music, photography or art, you’ll always find people willing to learn from you. Photography can also get you a job at a photo studio.
Try Retail Jobs – If you have good people skills, you can try selling as an alternative career. Sell things that interest you – cars, sports equipment, shoes…or everything together! You will have flexible hours working in a retail shop, and even get discounts on the stuff you’re selling.
Become a Personal Chef – Rustle up some great food, and earn dollars and kudos! In the US, this alternate career option usually requires you to prepare and deliver food to two or three clients daily. However, you generally need a culinary degree for this job.
Consider Golf Course Jobs – Enjoy your game, and your work too! There are several job opportunities for seniors at courses and country clubs including You can be a Ranger, or work in Maintenance, Food Service, or Marketing at a golf course or country club. As in retail, you will get discounts as an employee, and even get to use the golf course for free!
Become a Personal Coach – Seniors who are interested in fields like retirement planning, senior fitness, and senior dating, can opt for this type of job. to succeed, you need some basic common sense, lots of practical knowledge and strong listening skills.
Become an Angel Investor – Before retirement, most people plan their retirement benefits. If you have already planned your retirement benefits and want to invest your money in a business, you can choose an alternate career option as an Angel investor.

So get ready to keep enjoying the high-quality life that you have always been used to even if its your post retirement period.

When do you call yourself a senior citizen?

There is no definite parameter as such to say when an American can be termed as a senior citizen. Some people, who retire from work place, call themselves senior citizens. Some consider themselves seniors, when they become eligible for Medicare. There is another group which feels that if a person gets an invitation for AARP can be said to be a senior.
The Del Webb’s survey results show that 96% of 50-year old people don’t count themselves as seniors, whereas 56% of 64-year old people term themselves as senior citizens. According to 50-year old citizens, they cannot be called seniors because they haven’t reached 65 yet. Besides, they are not entitled to any benefits applicable in case of a senior citizen.
Another interesting observation is that about 50% of the 64-year old people feel that the status of senior citizen is not applicable to them as yet. They still feel young and energetic. However, some 64-year old people recognize their senior citizen status for the fact that they have become eligible for senior discounts and are more than 60 year old now.
The previous and current baby boomer generations feel quite young and energetic as against their actual age. The 50-year old people feel as young as a 39 year old and 64-year old people feel as lively as 50 year olds. The current generation of baby boomers suggests 78-year olds can be termed as seniors, while the older ones suggest the senior life begins at 80.

Where to relocate during retirement?

Most of the retirees prefer to spend their life in peace. They like to travel to a place, which is safely away from the crazy urban dins. In fact, we are also not much different from them. Many of us make plans to buy homes in ideal locations so that in our later period of retirement we can simply move in with comfort and there is only a feeling of peace in our mind.
It is in this regard that quite often we try to figure out which can be a perfect place for us to live in during our retirement age. The survey reports of the Del Webb show that earlier retired people used to find Sun Belt to be an apt choice for them. But, the trend has changed over the years. Now, North and South Carolina have become the favorite destinations among the baby boomers.
Around 36% of the people belonging to 50-year age bracket have the plans to shift their base to Carolina. Popularity of Florida, Virginia, Tennessee, Arizona and California among the baby boomers is found to be much less compared to Carolina this time. Only 15% of 50-year-old people think that Florida would be a nice place to relocate. Virginia, California and Arizona have managed to find only 8% preference votes for them as against Carolina.

Helpful Websites For Saving Money

Want to Save Money?
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