WisBusiness, WisPolitics Health Care Report Oct. 18

WisBusiness, WisPolitics Health Care Report Oct. 18

COVID-19 infections and related deaths continue to rise at nursing homes in Wisconsin, the latest numbers from AARP show. 

Over the four weeks ending Sept. 19, the rate of COVID-19 deaths more than doubled from 0.05 to 0.11 per 100 residents, according to the organization’s nursing home dashboard. At least 20 nursing home residents in Wisconsin died from the virus during that period, a release from AARP Wisconsin shows.

The state’s increase matches the national rate, and more than 2,000 residents across the country died from COVID-19 in the same four-week period.

Meanwhile, the number of infections among residents jumped from 0.3 to 0.9 per 100 residents, with a total of 162 cases. And cases among nursing home staff increased from 1.5 to 2.5 per 100 residents. The release shows 16.5 percent of nursing homes in the state have reported virus cases in the latest data period.

AARP Wisconsin State Director Sam Wilson notes these numbers would be higher without vaccines and points to “the importance of continuing access to COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots for eligible residents and staff.”

The number of nursing homes with at least 75 percent of staff vaccinated is increasing, reaching 27.8 percent of facilities in the state at latest count. That number was 21.5 percent in mid-August. Vaccination rates among residents rose over the same period from 86.5 percent to 87.7 percent, and from 62.4 percent to 65 percent among staff.

The AARP data also show that just over half of nursing homes in Wisconsin are short-staffed, while 5.1 percent are reporting “an urgent need” for more personal protective equipment.

See the AARP dashboard here, and see the release below.

Children’s Wisconsin says a new clinic planned for the Appleton area will reduce the need for patients in the region to travel elsewhere for care. 

The hospital system says it conducts 50,000 patient visits per year among children living in northeastern Wisconsin, but only about 20,000 of those visits are done at local clinics. The other 30,000 visits are in the Milwaukee region.

The new facility will be able to support up to 70,000 visits per year, the release shows.

“Expanding services at locations that are closer to where families live supports our efforts to provide more personalized and integrated care,” said Gail Ostrander, vice president of northeast regional services for Children’s Wisconsin.

Construction on the 50,000-square-foot clinic will begin this fall, and it’s expected to open in 2023. The Milwaukee-based Hammes Company, Madison-based Miron Construction Co, and Kahler Slater of Madison are partners on the project.

Clinical services currently offered at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah and the Children’s Wisconsin Fox Valley Child Advocacy Center will be consolidated there, the release shows. The ThedaCare hospital site in Neenah will continue to be operated by Children’s Wisconsin.

See more in the release below.

Researchers at UW-Madison have found that fasting may play a key role in the health benefits associated with calorie restriction.

Earlier studies had shown that “long-term calorie restriction” led to better measurements of health in animal models, including lower body weight, longer lifespans and better blood sugar control. But many rodent calorie restriction studies had “unintentionally combined” reduced calorie consumption with long fasts, as the animals were given food just once per day, a release from the university shows.

In a study published today in the journal Nature Metabolism, UW School of Medicine and Public Health researcher Dudley Lamming, graduate student Heidi Pak and other collaborators sought to clarify exactly how these regimens were leading to health improvements in study animals.

“Our results shed new light on how both when and how much we eat regulate metabolic health and longevity, and demonstrate that daily prolonged fasting, and not solely reduced caloric intake, is likely responsible for the metabolic and geroprotective benefits of a CR diet,” they wrote in their study.

By controlling the amount of calories consumed and fasting periods for mice, the researchers found that when combined with eating less, fasting “reduces frailty” in older mice and extends their lifespan. They also found that fasting alone can improve liver metabolism and measures of blood sugar.

By comparison, mice that had their calories restricted but never fasted “died younger” than the mice that ate freely, “suggesting that calorie restriction alone may be harmful,” per the release.

Across all the groups of mice included in the study, researchers found that benefits previously attributed to calorie restriction alone “all required fasting as well,” as mice that ate fewer calories but did not fast didn’t get the same health benefits. They also found that fasting without reducing calories provided benefits similar to those from calorie restriction combined with fasting.

“We need to know whether this fasting is required for people to see benefits,” Lamming said. “If fasting is the main driver of health, we should be studying drugs or diet interventions that mimic fasting rather than those that mimic fewer calories.”

See the study here, and see more in a release below.

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Press Releases

– AARP Wisconsin: COVID-19 deaths in Wisconsin nursing homes doubled from Aug. to Sept. 2021

– Children’s Wisconsin opening new clinic in Appleton

– UW-Madison: Fasting is required to see the full benefit of calorie restriction in mice