Meet Dustin Snowadzky, AAPD/Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies Fellow

by Dustin Snowadzky: For More Info, Go Here…

Greetings! My name is Dustin Snowadzky and I am excited to join The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) as the first Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies Fellow.

The purpose of the Fellowship is to lead a national legislative initiative and facilitate collaboration among AAPD stakeholders and local and state disability inclusive emergency management coalitions, emergency management personnel and other stakeholders.

My Fellowship was established to advance legislative and community organizing initiatives affecting disaster impacted individuals with disabilities and emergency preparedness. I am focusing on the use of technology to maximize nationwide engagement towards passage and implementation of disability inclusive emergency management legislative initiatives.

My overall goal is to contribute to AAPD’s partnerships with disability organizations and other stakeholders committed to equal access to emergency and disaster services and programs for people with disabilities — before, during, and after disasters


#Things Disabled people Know

Over the last few days, the hashtag #ThingsDisabledPeopleKnow has gone viral. It started with some tweets about Bryan Cranston playing a quad and expanded from there. If you are interested in seeing what people are describing using this hashtag, you can follow the link at the start of the post.

I read some comments this morning that talked about how the things disabled people know change as they age, and depend heavily on one’s characteristics and current life experiences.

Maybe we can get all 1.5 billion global people to put one thing they personally know from their experience as a person with a disability.

Wouldn’t that be something?

VA’s benefits appeals process will see a dramatic changeover next month

By: Leo Shane III: For More, Go Here…

Veterans rejected for disability benefits will have a new slate of appeals options starting next month, when federal officials will put in place an overhaul the review process with hopes of dramatically cutting down on wait times for the complicated cases.

Last week, Department of Veterans Affairs officials announced they will implement new appeals modernization rules starting Feb. 19. Work on the effort has been underway for more than 18 months, since lawmakers passed sweeping reform legislation on the topic in August 2017.

Under the new rules, veterans will be given three options for their benefits appeals. All three are designed to streamline the complicated existing process for cases, which can languish for years as new evidence and arguments are introduced throughout the timeline.



ngd-Being unwilling to embrace shared decision making in health systems is a result of managers viewing patients, not as human beings, but revenue streams with attached liabilities…

Shared decision-making about health conditions is linked to lower likelihood of patient legal action.


  • Participants in a recent study showed an 80% lower propensity to pursue legal action if they engaged in shared decision-making than if they did not.
  • Benefits of shared decision-making include facilitating patient-centered care.
  • Commitment to shared decision-making is needed not only at the clinician level but also organizationally at health systems, hospitals, and physician practices.


One in four prisoners have suffered traumatic brain injury, study finds

From the Irish Examiner: For More, Go Here….

ngd-The same is true in US prisons…

A quarter of Scottish prisoners have suffered a traumatic brain injury at some point in their lives, new research has indicated.

The study, a joint venture by the University of Glasgow and the Scottish Prison Service, looked at all the country’s inmates along with electronic records of hospital admissions.

It also estimated 10% of prisoners have suffered a severe head injury during their lives – or multiple injuries likely to lead to a disability.

Traumatic brain injuries can result in emotional and personality changes such as impulsiveness, aggression or poorer judgment of control or temper.

Tom McMillan, university professor of clinical neuropsychology, said: “It is accepted that there is a need to understand head injury in prisoners in order to plan interventions to reduce associated disability and risk of reoffending.

“This study demonstrates just how prevalent serious head injury is in prisoners in Scotland.

When Docs Sexually Violate Patients

by Elizabeth Hlavinka: For More, Go Here

First of a three-part series on physicians who abuse patients and the institutions that enable them.

Although the so-called #MeToo movement got its start from allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein in late 2017, victims of sexual abuse — in the church, in the locker room, in the workplace, and, yes, in the exam room — had already begun to speak up and demand accountability.

And while media coverage has tended to focus on the individual perpetrators, it’s clear that there is more to the problem than just a few “bad apples.” In this new MedPage Today series, we explore the background to sexual assault committed by physicians and look at some of the systems that enable abuse and others that try to prevent it.

Emigrating From the U.S. May Be the Only Way To Afford Eldercare


A nursing home for my mother in Germany would cost less than half of what she pays in Sacramento.

Later this year, my partner and I plan to marry and move to Cologne, Germany, where he lives, and we agreed to bring my mother with us. So, last September, I visited the Residenz am Dom, a senior care facility in Cologne, and met with Marie-Luise Wrage, a social worker who counsels family members of potential residents.

When it came time to discuss costs, Wrage appeared slightly flustered, concerned that the amounts would be off-putting. First, she explained to me that the German healthcare system uniformly classifies stages of disability and that costs are strictly regulated based on a patient’s needs. The monthly fees for my mother to be housed, fed and cared for at the Residenz, she finally revealed, would come to about $3,200—at which point I revealed that my mother pays more than twice that in Sacramento.

We laughed, but joking aside, agreed: Growing old—or falling ill—in the United States is not for the poor.

The national median cost in the United States for a one-bedroom unit in an assisted living community is now $4,000 per month or $48,000 per year. Alzheimer’s or dementia care increases that cost by an additional $1,200 per month. Seniors must also often plan for out-of-pocket expenses, in some cases up to $2,000 in copays, coinsurance and prescription drugs, as well as amenities not provided by care facilities, such as toiletries and nonprescription medicines.

Diet & pain

by Dr. Ming Kao: For More, Go Here…

While the science of nutrition continues to evolve, I have seen many patients with pain profoundly improve after making one of the following dietary changes. Such changes are low-cost, & are low-risk when made under medical guidance. Patients with chronic pain may find it worthwhile to try one or more of these diets.

Gluten-free diet

Advocates of this diet say that many people have sensitivity to gluten, and that avoiding wheat-based products can help them feel better.

Critics say that this diet works by indirectly reducing processed foods (cakes, donuts, etc), and that it is this avoidance that underlies the benefits of this diet. Avoidance of all whole-grain products — a more extreme version of this diet — may in fact be harmful.

Dairy-free diet

Advocates of this diet say that cow milk protein increases inflammation, and that its high caloric density without fiber content promotes weight gain. To the degree that weight loss & reduced inflammation are both beneficial for chronic pain, this fairly simple diet may be a reasonable starting point.

Whole food plant-based diet

Advocates of this diet maximize unprocessed plant foods, and minimize ultraprocessed plant food (e.g. potato chips) & processed animal foods (e.g. hot dogs).

Many have reported profound improvements in health from heart disease, diabetes, to chronic pain. Advocates note that this diet is more inclusive than it sounds, and many have been successful in adhering to it long-term.

Low-histamine diet

Advocates of this much more restrictive diet say people with histamine intolerance develop headache, anxiety, abdominal pain, & a host of symptoms in response to foods high in histamine, including in particular fermented foods (e.g., beer, wine, kombucha, yogurt, cheese, kimchi, & pickles).

Researchers reveal new risk factor for poor mental health

ngd-The first brain-related research paper I ever read was in late 1970. The focus was the influence of lead levels on what today we would call ADHD in elementary school children. It said that lead levels that were only 25% of the threshold for medical poisoning by lead produce sharp increases in hyperactivity and attention problems. This is an old story that apparently has to be relearned by each generation. There are still no safe and effective ways to remove lead once it is in the brain.
A new study has found that some people exposed to a certain toxic metal as children may face poor mental health as adults. This finding may have far-reaching implications for all populations exposed to this risk factor.

Now, new research from Duke University in Durham, NC, also suggests that exposure to lead during childhood can affect how an individual’s personality develops and predispose them to mental health problems in adulthood.

The research findings, which appear in JAMA Psychiatry, indicate that people who had high levels of lead in their blood when they were young are more likely to experience mental health issues by the time they turn 38. The study also indicates that they are also more likely to have developed unhealthy personality traits, such as neuroticism.

The researchers assessed the participants’ psychopathology factor (p-factor), which is a mental health measurement. They determined the factors by looking at 11 disorders: alcohol misuse, dependence on cannabis, tobacco, and hard drugs, conduct disorder, major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, phobiasobsessive-compulsive disorder, mania, and schizophrenia.

After looking at the p-factor in conjunction with blood lead levels, the researchers concluded that, while lead exposure’s impact on mental health may be modest, it may have far-reaching effects.

Lead exposure’s “effects really can last for quite a long time, in this case, 3 to 4 decades,” according to study coauthor Jonathan Schaefer.

“Lead exposure decades ago may be harming the mental health of people today who are in their 40s and 50s,” Schaefer warns.

What the Camp Fire Revealed

by Annie Lowrey: For More, Go Here

Two months after disaster struck, the recovery in Paradise, California, is harder for some than for others.

Natural disasters are equalizing forces. Fires torch the homes of the rich and the poor alike. Hurricanes destroy cruise ships as well as decade-old cars. Earthquakes level cities, affecting everyone within. But natural disasters are also polarizing forces. Income and wealth shape who gets hit; how much individuals, insurers, nonprofits, and governments are willing and able to help; and who recovers, as well as to what extent.

That dynamic is now evident in Paradise, California, after the Camp Fire, much as it was in Houston after Harvey, Puerto Rico after Maria, New Jersey and New York after Sandy, New Orleans after Katrina, and so many other places after so many other disasters, small and large. Across the country, two of the most potent forces in American life—climate change, which portends more frequent and more violent natural disasters, and social stratification—are colliding. And the former stands to make the latter far, far worse.

The Camp Fire was all-consuming, incinerating much of the town of Paradise in mere hours. After breaking out in early November, it burned for more than two weeks, killing at least 86 people, destroying some 14,000 homes, and causing roughly $17 billion in insured losses. It was the most destructive wildfire in California history, and one of the worst natural calamities to hit the United States.

When a disaster strikes, the evacuation often stratifies on class lines, too. People with very low incomes, the disabled, and the elderly are less likely to have technologies that might alert them to a fire speeding their way or a hurricane about to bear down. In part for this reason, the average age of those who died in the Camp Fire was estimated at 71.