Sam Bauman: More on how ‘pre’ can head off a disease



Last week we looked at a way doctors can help patients avoid a disease. It’s called in short “pre” and it consists of the doctor looking patient information and warning of the potential of developing an illness. This allows the patient to take steps to avoid such as diabetes or hypertension.

Two other warnings can be revealed in “pre” exams — osteoporosis and glaucoma.

Some 43 million Americans have osteopenia, which means they have low bone density but not low enough to be considered osteoporosis. It’s reflected in a T-score of between -1.0 and -2.5.

You’re at higher risk you’re a post-menopausal woman, you’ve broken a bone, have rheumatoid arthritis, you smoke or drink a lot, and use drugs like prednisone for a least three months.

But avoid over treatment or over diagnosis. Usually, the condition doesn’t progress. Diet and health style can hold off worsening. Style changes include 30 minutes of walking most days of the week and getting 800 daily units of a vitamin daily and a diet that rich in calcium.

Another “pre” illness is glaucoma-suspect, which is a risk factor for glaucoma. This is an eye problem with adverse eyeball pressure. Up to 40 percent of those over 40 have it but suffer no damage to seeing. Don’t over treat; research suggests that patients who use prescription eyedrops don’t need to. But such eyedrops can reduce glaucoma growth by 50 percent over a five-year period.

A delightful Christmas show

Seniors who remember Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” can refresh those memories with the current Christmas show at the Eldorado Casino in Reno. It’s called “Ebenezer” but Dickens would recognize his basic plot line. David Discenza is Ebenezer and a fine night-gowned skinflint he is. You remember the story of Ebenezer Scrooge going to bed but awakened by ghostly figures representing Christmas past, present and future, along with the lame Tiny Tim.

Seniors get a discount for the show as well as a price reduction in dining.

This show is live and happy, even down to the Christmas goose that Scrooge buys for his clerk Cratchit. Yes, you could probably get a very nice DVD version of “Christmas Carol” but it wouldn’t have the warmth and pleasure of this live version.

And Tiny Tim’s crutch is a pleasant symbol of those who need a little help from all us Scrooges.

Harper Lee’s new novel

Harper Lee’s book “To Kill a Mocking Bird” has long amused and enlightened senior readers. It’s a tale of girl of 8 growing up in Maycomb, Alabama, a girl who can handle any of the boys she plays with. It is an enduring book that gently informs and enlightens.

Recently an earlier novel of hers has emerged from a closet to wonderment and some confusion. “Go Set a Watchman” was written before “Mockingbird.” An editor read “Watchman” and suggested to Lee that she should write a book about the characters in “Watchman.” That became, of course, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” “Watchman” languished in a closet.

I recently read “Mockingbird” after years of forgetting it existed. I found it worth all the praise it has enjoyed. It brings back memories of youth and earlier times pleasingly.

So when I got a copy of “Watchman” I was in tune with Lee’s style and way of writing. The style and words match; no question about who’s writing “Watchman.”

The new book presents us with Jean Louise coming home after living in New York City. Of course, she finds Maycomb has changed but she finds old friends still there, including a stiff aunt and Atticus and a potential boyfriend.

She engages in memories and one day goes to the courthouse to hear a meeting of a citizens’ council (a phenomenon of 1950-60s as the nation was moving to end segregation).

She finds Atticus there along with a rabid segregationist. She discovers her hero shattered. She confronts Atticus and he tries to explain that he has not changed from the man who defended a black man of rape but is trying to keep the good of Maycomb while trying to gentle the past.

Dr. Finch, her uncle, explains how she confused her conscience with Atticus, “Every man’s an island, Jean Louise, every man’s watchman, is his conscience. There’s no such thing as a collective conscience.”

Thus the title of the book.

There’s sentiment but not sentimentality here.

How good is “Watchman”? Probably as good as “Mockingbird.” There’s true humility and understanding. No necessary answers to everything, but enough for Maycomb, Alabama.

Yes, read the new one because it has lots of answers. And besides, it’s an old friend you didn’t know you had.

Sam Bauman writes about senior issues for the Nevada Appeal. Check out his blog at


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