Trending News Today: Alcohol Abuse is on the Rise Among Older Individuals

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

A novel product may reduce peanut allergies in infants, according to The New York Times. Hello, Peanut, is a powdered product that can be mixed into pureed baby food to expose infants to peanuts beginning around 5 months old. This is the first product the FDA has allowed to carry this claim; however, the label warns that evidence is limited and parents of susceptible babies are urged to consult with their physician before trying the product.

New study findings reveal an alarming trend: alcohol abuse is increasing rapidly among older Americans. According to The New York Times, epidemiologists at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism compared data from a national survey conducted in 2001 and 2002 and again in 2012 and 2013, finding that alcohol consumption increased in every age group. Participants over 65 years were far less likely to drink than their young counterparts, but it was still a 22% increase over the 2 survey periods. Furthermore, older adults who engaged in high-risk drinking rose 65% to 3.8%. Alcohol use disorders more than doubled in a decade, reported the NY Times.

Medicare is gearing up to issue its 60 million beneficiaries with new cards displaying new ID numbers to reduce the risk of identity theft and fraud. According to NPR, congress allocated $242 million for the switchover over 4 fiscal years. Although the transition will not begin until next April, the agency has already set up a website, are sending out handbooks, and have call centers in place to answer any questions from physicians and beneficiaries to ease the change. Mailings of the new cards will begin next April and the transition will continue into 2019, NPR reported.