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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Feed Tubes Criticized

NEW YORK -- Nursing homes and hospitals should end the widespread use of tubes to feed people with advanced Alzheimer's disease or other types of dementia, according to an article published Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine.

The article did not present new research, but the author reviewed the medical literature and concluded that there was no evidence that feeding tubes helped most patients, and that they might, in fact, be harmful.

A spokesman for the Alzheimer's Association, Dr. Stephen McConnell, said: "This is a position we actually took years ago, that it is ethically permissible to withdraw or withhold hydration and nutrition from somebody in advanced stages. Now there's some scientific evidence that tube feeding doesn't do what everybody thinks, prolong life or make people more comfortable."