Tinnitus Linked to Auditory Nerve Loss

From Neuroscience News: Complete Post through this link…

Summary: A new study reveals that tinnitus, a common auditory issue characterized by ringing in the ears, is associated with undetected auditory nerve loss. This finding challenges the traditional understanding that tinnitus is solely a result of brain maladaptation to hearing loss.

The study shows that individuals with normal hearing tests but experiencing tinnitus actually suffer from cochlear synaptopathy, a type of “hidden hearing loss.” This discovery paves the way for potential treatments, including nerve regeneration through neurotrophins, bringing hope for millions affected worldwide.

Key Facts:

  1. Tinnitus in individuals with normal hearing tests is linked to undetected auditory nerve loss.
  2. The study identifies cochlear synaptopathy, or hidden hearing loss, as a key factor in tinnitus genesis.
  3. Future treatment possibilities include auditory nerve regeneration, offering hope for a potential cure for tinnitus.

Cellphones Are a Lifeline for Unhoused People—But Barriers Abound

By Moe Clark: Complete Post through this link…

A lack of internet access and charging stations makes it challenging for unhoused folks to maintain a working cellphone, posing a threat to their safety and ability to follow up with service providers or connect with employers.

As the sun started to set one early October day in Denver, nearly 100 people gathered by the side of Denver’s City Hall for Mutual Aid Monday, a weekly event for unhoused people to get hot food, camping gear, haircuts, and clothes. People sprawled on the grass to eat and chat as ’90s R&B music played from speakers on a table labeled the “Dork Energy Station,” which included a portable cellphone charging station—the latest addition to the weekly outreach event.

“We are out here to raise awareness for a permanent fix,” says Susan Law, a 37-year-old lawyer and volunteer at the event. “People need their phones.”

The idea for the charging station had been sparked a few weeks prior by Law’s friend, Kevin Campbell, at a mental health awareness meet-up in a park, called Dork Dancing. “He said, you know, the music is great, but it would be even better if folks could charge up at the same time,” Law recalled. Now, volunteers have around 30 chargers for people to use during Mutual Aid Monday as part of their pilot program, and they hope to one day install permanent charging stations around the city.

Cellphones can be a lifeline for unhoused people to be able to access critical services, stay connected to support systems, remain up to date on current events, and find upward mobility. But locating outlets to charge them, especially throughout the pandemic, has been a challenge. Many also struggle to pay their monthly phone bill, and phones can easily be lost, broken, or stolen while living on the streets—which can set people back by making it more challenging for them to follow up with service providers or potential employers.

“People tend to be able to access cellphones,” says Benjamin Henwood, a professor at the University of Southern California who directs the Center for Homelessness, Housing and Health Equity Research. “The problem is keeping the phones active.”

It’s estimated that over half of unsheltered people own cell phones, according to research by Henwood and others. But turnover—meaning the phones were lost or stolen within three months—was high.

Social Security Backlogs Have Left Over 1 Million Americans Awaiting Benefits

By Vance Cariaga: Complete Post through this link…

ngd-The fundemental difficulty is that initial application consideration uses a set of rules for decisions that aren’t consistent with the intent of the statutory definition of disability under SSA. This results in a doubling of the number of people who are denied, with half of the denials being bogus…

The Social Security Administration has become so overwhelmed by customer service problems that even officials with the agency admit that their performance is “not acceptable.” That was how Linda Kerr-Davis, the SSA’s acting deputy commissioner of operations, described things during a recent Congressional hearing.

Kerr-Davis was there to explain why more than 1 million Americans are still waiting for initial decisions on disability benefits that currently take an average of 220 days to process.

“Pending levels and wait times for determinations on initial disability claims and disability reconsiderations are at all-time highs,” Kerr-Davis told the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee last month. “For the first time since the programs began, pending initial disability claims have exceeded 1 million. Applicants are waiting on average seven months for a decision. This is simply not acceptable — to the public, to you, or to us.”

Members of Congress — from both political parties — did not dispute that assessment. Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.), chairman of the Social Security panel of the Ways and Means Committee, said the consequences of SSA’s various service failures “are devastating.”

The question now is what the SSA plans to do about it. Kerr-Davis told the committee that her agency has worked to identify issues that led to the backlog and plans to take “immediate steps” to address and resolve them.

Questions and Answers on the Application of the ADA’s Integration Mandate and Olmstead v. L.C. to Employment and Day Services for People with Disabilities

From ADA.gov: Complete Post through this link…

Nationally, a significant number of individuals with disabilities spend the majority of their daytime hours receiving public services in sheltered workshops and facility-based day programs. These settings segregate individuals from the community and provide little or no opportunity to interact with people without disabilities, other than paid staff.

 Guidance & Resources

Read this to get specific guidance about this topic.

The work of individuals with disabilities in segregated settings is often highly regimented and typically offers no opportunity for advancement. In many sheltered workshops, for example, people with disabilities perform highly repetitive, manual tasks, such as folding, sorting, and bagging, in shared spaces occupied only by other people with disabilities. They also often earn extremely low wages when compared to people with disabilities in integrated employment, resulting in stigmatization and a lack of economic independence. As long as individuals with disabilities who can and want to work remain in segregated work or day settings, they will be deprived of an important opportunity to interact with the community and the community will be deprived of their talents, skills, and contributions.

When people with disabilities are instead given access to supported employment services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs, they have the opportunity to live fuller lives, be more integrated into the community, and gain financial independence to “move proudly into the economic mainstream of American life.” 1 These opportunities fulfill the core promises of the Americans with Disabilities Act to “assure equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self- sufficiency.” 2

State and local governments that fail to provide services to people with disabilities in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs may be failing to comply with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The U.S. Department of Justice (the Department) has created this guidance to discuss and explain the requirements of the ADA’s integration mandate and the Supreme Court’s decision in Olmstead v. L.C. ex rel. Zimring, 527 U.S. 581 (1999), as applied to segregated employment settings and facility-based day programs.

And much more…

Smart assistive lamps ​reduce falls in care home by 84 percent

By Sarah Sarsby: Complete Post through this link…

An AI-powered lamp has reduced the number of falls in a care home in Cumbria by 84 percent, with a 28-fold increase in response time when a fall occurs.

The Nobi Smart Lamp, developed by Nobi, is an AI-powered piece of assistive technology that aims to revolutionise fall detection and prevention in care homes globally, including in the UK.

If a resident falls, the lamp detects this immediately and speaks to the resident, asking if they are okay.

In the event of no response or a call for help, the lamp is pre-programmed to send a message to either caregivers or family members. In the event of an emergency, the emergency services are notified with the lamp having the ability to open the door for them.

The technology has been in use since May 2023 as part of a pilot that is being funded by NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB) at the Hartland House care home in Cumbria. The lamps are already having a “significant” impact on the lives of residents and care staff.

Nobi Lamps detect 100 percent of falls and offer preventative measures that have led to a huge reduction in falls at Hartland House, according to Nobi. ​

Deborah Gent, the adult social care digital lead for NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB, said: “We have been very happy with preliminary results from the pilot programme with Hartland House and the Nobi lamps.

Michigan makes history, requires filtered water in all schools, daycares

By Jonathan Oosting: Complete Post through this link…

  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs filtered water laws for schools, childcare centers
  • Laws will require a filter bottle filling station or faucet for every 100 kids
  • Move comes seven years after Flint water contamination crisis

LANSING — Michigan will be the first state in the nation to require filtered drinking water at all schools and daycare centers under new laws signed Thursday by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. 

Facilities will have until the end of the 2025-26 school year to install at least one bottle-filling station or faucet filter for every 100 children under the laws, which aim to prevent lead exposure that, at high levels, can cause brain damage and developmental delays.

Whitmer signs bills guaranteeing lead screening for young Michigan children

BY: JON KING: Complete Post through this link…

Bipartisan bills to guarantee the screening of minors for lead poisoning in Michigan were signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. 

The legislation requires all children be tested for lead poisoning between 12 and 24 months of age, while also allowing for parents to opt out if they choose to do so.

“In Michigan, we know the importance of safe drinking water and the devastating, long-lasting impacts of lead exposure,” said Whitmer. “With our historic investments in water infrastructure over the last five years, our work to replace tens of thousands of lead service lines, and [Tuesday’s] bills to test children for lead exposure, we will protect our water and our children.” 

During hearings earlier this year on the bills, health professionals, parent advocates and lawmakers supported both of the bills that were signed into law Tuesday.

HHS Announces ‘HHS Bridge Access Program For COVID-19 Vaccines and Treatments’ to Maintain Access to COVID-19 Care for the Uninsured

From USDHHS: Complete Post through this link…

Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government approach to combatting COVID-19, we are now in a better place in our response than at any point of the pandemic. One of the critical components of our response has been ensuring all Americans have easy access to COVID-19 vaccines free of charge. Over the last two years, the Biden-Harris Administration has effectively implemented the largest adult vaccination program in U.S. history, with nearly 700 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines given to 270 million Americans.

Today, HHS is announcing the ‘HHS Bridge Access Program For COVID-19 Vaccines and Treatments Program’(“Program”) to maintain broad access to COVID-19 vaccines for millions of uninsured Americans. The program will create a unique $1.1 billion public-private partnership to help maintain uninsured individuals’ access to COVID-19 care at their local pharmacies, through existing public health infrastructure, and at their local health centers.

While fighting COVID-19 remains a key public health priority for the Administration, ensuring that all Americans have continued, easy access to COVID-19 vaccinations and treatments, regardless of insurance status, is critical to that goal. Partners across the United States government (USG) have been developing commercialization transition plans to ensure a smooth transition for the provision of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments from the purchase and distribution by the USG to traditional health care pathways.

When that transition occurs, most Americans should continue to pay nothing out-of-pocket for COVID-19 vaccines. For COVID-19 treatments such as Paxlovid and Lagevrio, out-of-pocket expenses for certain treatments may change after these products move to traditional health care models, depending on a person’s health care coverage. These expenses will be similar to costs one may incur for other drugs and treatments through traditional coverage.

Improving mental health by training the suppression of unwanted thoughts

By ZULKAYDA MAMAT AND MICHAEL C. ANDERSON: Complete Post through this link…


Anxiety, posttraumatic stress, and depression markedly increased worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic. People with these conditions experience distressing intrusive thoughts, yet conventional therapies often urge them to avoid suppressing their thoughts because intrusions might rebound in intensity and frequency, worsening the disorders. In contrast, we hypothesized that training thought suppression would improve mental health. One hundred and twenty adults from 16 countries underwent 3 days of online training to suppress either fearful or neutral thoughts. No paradoxical increases in fears occurred. Instead, suppression reduced memory for suppressed fears and rendered them less vivid and anxiety provoking. After training, participants reported less anxiety, negative affect, and depression with the latter benefit persisting at 3 months. Participants high in trait anxiety and pandemic-related posttraumatic stress gained the largest and most durable mental health benefits. These findings challenge century-old wisdom that suppressing thoughts is maladaptive, offering an accessible approach to improving mental health.

The PACT Act and your VA benefits

From USDVA: Complete Post through this link…

The PACT Act is a new law that expands VA health care and benefits for Veterans exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange, and other toxic substances.

The PACT Act adds to the list of health conditions that we assume (or “presume”) are caused by exposure to these substances. This law helps us provide generations of Veterans—and their survivors—with the care and benefits they’ve earned and deserve.

This page will help answer your questions about what the PACT Act means for you or your loved ones. You can also call us at 800-698-2411 (TTY: 711). And you can file a claim for PACT Act-related disability compensation or apply for VA health care now.