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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Phone Line Established for Patients with Alzheimers

The phone number 734-936-8803 connects those diagnosed with Alzheimers,their families and friends directly to services that will assist them. The line was established by University of Michigan Health Systems and leads patients to the U-M Memory Connection.

Patients frequently have to make lots of phone calls to get the information they want to know after being diagnosed with Alzheimers, and the situation is stressful enough without knowing who to turn to. Lots of time when patients call to get information they are directed to another phone number, and this cycle continues until they finally give up without any answers.

"We need to do a better job of helping our patients and families find their way," says Henry Paulson, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Michigan Alzheimer's Disease Center and professor of neurology at the University of Michigan Medical School.

The U-M Memory connection informs patients of what they need to know. It designed to be a one stop destination for information about dementia services and memory loss. Memory loss services are then provided to patients from the line in an easy and non-stressful way, or at least that is what the U-M Memory Connection is aiming for. Services like the Silver Club Programs at U-M Geriatrics Center, community programs and social workers are provided to the patients. Patients can also be connected to research studies on different topics involving memory loss.

"This is a huge health problem that affects all of us. We need to do a better job of making the diagnosis but also implementing care … it can be very difficult for patients to navigate their way," Paulson says.

Patients call are answered by trained professional who has comprehensive knowledge about mild memory loss, Lewy Body disease, Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, and vascular dementia. The line is open to phone call Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:00 pm, and patients who leave messages will be gotten to the next business day or sooner.

"Many people experience changes with memory as they age. Some changes are normal, but other changes could be a sign of memory loss and we know it is important to understand that difference. Our call center specialists can answer some of the difficult questions you may have at the time of a diagnosis and beyond, " says Cassie Starback, coordinator of the Michigan Alzheimer's Disease Center.

U-M Memory connection was put together by the U-M Dementia Consortium that was founded by the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease center. The composition of the consoritium includes various U-M departments, including Neurology, Geriatric Center, U-M School of Social work, U-M school of Public Health and local chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Police Track Cell Phone to Catch Perp. In Denver

When is it okay for the Police to Resort to Tracking Date from cell phones of citizens?

Two men point a gun at the worker of a Lakewood convenient store and told him to empty the cash register. The owner gave them the money, but the robbers made the mistake of also taking the victim’s iPhone.

The next day, a team of local cops and Denver cops had caught one of the men by tracking the iPhone. The cell phone provider AT&T released the information to the cops as to updates to the iPhone location.

In this case the owner of the iPhone, the man robbed, gave permission to the police to track the location of his phone. The problem becomes what process do police need to go through to be allowed to track cell phones.

The Supreme Court Ruled on a vote 5 to 4 that police tracking people via their real time data from their cell phones without a search warrant was a potential violation of our fourth amendment right.

Cell phone providers can provide historical data and real time data, so should they be able to provide certain data and not others? None of these questions have easy answers. Everyone has an opinion about it. Here is one:

"Cell providers can locate every smartphone at any given moment. The question becomes who's privy to that information and under what circumstances," said Tom Raynes, executive director of the Colorado District Attorneys Council. "Because you're giving that information to the cell provider — a third party — when you buy the phone, does that invalidate a right to privacy?"

No one really has made a decision about what circumstances are okay and what situation it is unacceptable for police to check up on. In the case of the robbery, it seems like a pretty obvious answer. Other cases will not be as cut and dry. Police everywhere go by different rules, if they follow any, but there is no national standard.

Obtain cell phones data has become an initial step in many investigations, said Lakewood Police Department spokesman Steve Davis.

"Every law enforcement agency I'm aware of uses this kind of technology to locate people," Davis said. "We have technology available to us today that certainly wasn't available just a few years ago."

Even within different departments of Denver there are different methods of approaching cell phone tracking. Nationally there is no protocol, but one can imagine how much it varies.

This will be an issue to keep an eye on. How much do you want cops being able to poke into your lives without a search warrant or even probably cause?