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Landmark study finds commonly prescribed anticholinergic medications raise risk of dementia

drugs Anticholinergics dementia

Anticholinergics for depression, such as amitriptyline, dosulepin, and paroxetine, have previously been linked to higher risk of dementia, even when they were used up to 20 years beforehand.
A landmark study has linked the long-term use of certain anticholinergic drugs to a higher risk of dementia later on.

This investigation is believed to be the "largest and most detailed" study to date into long-term anticholinergic use and dementia risk.

Anticholinergics work by blocking a chemical messenger, or neurotransmitter, called acetylcholine that carries brain signals for controlling muscles.

They are used to treat a variety of conditions, from Parkinson's disease and loss of bladder control to asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and depression.

Anticholinergics for depression, such as amitriptyline, dosulepin, and paroxetine, have previously been linked to higher risk of dementia, even when they were used up to 20 years beforehand.

Some studies have also suggested that use of any anticholinergic is linked to raised risk of dementia.

Comment: Related:


SOTT Logo Radio

The Health & Wellness Show: Gettin Down and Dirty! The Health Benefits of Dirt

dirt
© Tim Schutsky for wired
One chemist thinks he’s found a way for us to outrun the lethal juggernaut of antibiotic resistance.
Humanity has become completely obsessed with the idea of cleanliness - antibacterial soaps and cleaners, hand sanitizers, antibiotics... The misguided hygiene hypothesis has done us a serious disservice to humanity, convincing us all that 'germs are bad'. It's reported that many millennials won't even touch raw meat. It seems we've become unnaturally afraid of the microscopic component of our reality.

Is there legitimate concern here? Are we floating in a sea of evil microbes that are just waiting to infect and kill us? It's more likely that we're looking at a serious overreaction. Like it or not, we are completely surrounded by an unbelievably diverse ecosystem of microbes that live in almost every habitat on the planet. There is no escape, so perhaps we should all get more comfortable with this particular reality, drop the OCD need to control every aspect of the environment and learn to make microbes your friends.

Join us on this episode of the Health and Wellness Show as we explore the benefits of playing in the dirt! Find out how soil microbes helped us to evolve, keep us healthy, treat depression and may even fight antibacterial resistance.

Running Time: 01:03:08

Download: OGG, MP3


Listen live, chat, and call in to future shows on the SOTT Radio Network!

Dollars

Fueling the opioid crisis: Doctors who prescribe the most opioids get paid the most from drug companies

Doctors take kick-backs from big pharma
Opioid addiction is at an all-time high in the U.S. - so much so, it's been identified as a significant factor in unemployment among men,1 and opioid overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under the age of 50.2 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), of the more than 63,600 Americans who died from drug overdoses in 2016,3,4 more than 42,000 were related specifically to opioids5 - a 28 percent jump in opioid deaths from the year before.

As if that's not disturbing enough, recent research6 suggests opioid overdose deaths are being undercounted by 20 to 35 percent, due to drug omissions on death certificates.7 In many cases, the specific drug that contributed to the death isn't listed on the death certificate, and it's quite likely that many of the general "drug deaths" are actually due to opioids specifically. According to this paper, a more accurate count would probably put the opioid-related death toll at nearly 40,000 for 2015 and closer to 50,000 for 2016.

The most common drugs involved in prescription opioid overdose deaths are methadone, oxycodone (such as OxyContin®) and hydrocodone (such as Vicodin®),8 and evidence suggests opioid makers such as Purdue Pharma, owned by the Sackler family, knew exactly what they were doing when they claimed opioids - which are chemically very similar to heroin - have an exceptionally low addiction rate when taken by people with pain.

In fact, the massive increase in opioid sales has been traced back to an orchestrated marketing plan aimed at misinforming doctors about the drug's addictive potential. Remarkably, despite widespread discussion about the dangers of opioids and the high risk of addiction, and despite updated treatment guidelines for back pain that stress nondrug interventions over pain killers, doctors are still overprescribing these drugs.

Snowflake

Brain freeze: Adapting to life in the frigid north may have been a real headache

A genetic analysis by latitude reveals variation in a cold-sensing protein linked to migraines
Genetic variation cold sensitive protein
© Viktor La/Shutterstock
A certain genetic variation in a cold-sensitive protein is far more common in people of northern European ancestry than in Asians or Africans. This variation has also been linked to migraine headaches, which occur more frequently in this population.

In Finland, 88 percent of people have a genetic variation that increases their risk for migraines. But in people of Nigerian descent, that number drops to 5 percent.

Coincidence? Maybe. But a new study suggests that, thousands of years ago, that particular genetic mutation increased in frequency in northern populations because it somehow made people better suited to handle cold temperatures. That change may have had the unfortunate consequence of raising the prevalence of these severe headaches in certain populations, researchers report May 3 in PLOS Genetics.

The mutation is in a stretch of DNA that controls the behavior of TRPM8, a protein that responds to cold sensation. People with the older version of this DNA snippet seems less susceptible to migraines than people with the mutated version, previous studies have shown.

Using a global database of human genetic information, evolutionary geneticist Aida Andres and her colleagues showed a correlation between the frequency of the mutation in a given population and that population's latitude. It's rare in Africa, for example, but fairly common across Europe.

Info

More reasons why you should take a nap

napping
© Penn State
Naps can protect your health and boost your waking performance.

Naps are not an indulgence or a sign of laziness, but a powerful means of rejuvenating your mental and physical well-being. Here are four reasons why you should try to find the time and place for a brief daytime snooze.


You probably need it.


Many people today are sleep deprived at moderate to severe levels. Long work hours, busy personal lives, noisy urban environments, and the stimulation of multiple electronic devices are all making it harder than ever to get as much sleep as our minds and bodies require. A quick siesta cannot make up for all the sleep you've lost, but taking a nap whenever you have the chance will protect your health and diminish the long-term effects of sleep deprivation.

Comment: More reasons to take a daily nap:


Sun

The dangers of chemical based sunscreen: Oxybenzone & Octinoxate

sunscreen
On Wednesday, Hawaiian lawmakers passed a bill banning the sale and distribution of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, chemicals thought to be harmful to the ocean's coral reefs. The ingredients can potentially increase coral's susceptibility to bleaching, and up to 14,000 tons of sunscreen reportedly end up in coral reefs every year.

Oxybenzone and octinoxate are two of the most popular ingredients in chemical sunscreens ― that is, sunscreens that use chemicals as the active ingredient. Chemical sunscreens dominate the shelves at most drugstores and rely on a chemical reaction to protect skin from the sun's rays.

That got us thinking: If oxybenzone and octinoxate can cause harm to coral, what are they doing to our bodies?

Comment: There is evidence that toxic chemicals in sunscreen can be harmful. Chemicals like Oxybenzone & Octinoxate can disrupt the endocrine system - endocrine disruptors - and cause DNA mutation. Read more about debunking the myths surrounding sun exposure and sunscreen:


Wine n Glass

Yet again: Study confirms repeated alcohol consumption damages the brain

alcohol brain stem cells

The study found that repeated alcohol consumption damages many parts of the brain and the areas most susceptible are in two regions that are responsible for the production of new brain cells.
Study found thinning in areas of the brain important for memory, language, awareness, consciousness and attention.

Binge drinking of alcohol is linked to brain damage in young people, new research finds.

Binge drinking is defined in the US as four or more standard alcoholic drinks for women or five or more for men in two hours.

Using alcohol in this way was linked to thinning in areas of the brain important for memory, language, awareness, consciousness and attention.

For example, binge drinking is associated with problems learning new words in young people.

Comment: More on the effects of alcohol:


Health

Worse than sugar: Artificial sweeteners alter metabolic processes at the cellular level making you fat and sick

artificial sweeteners
If you're still holding out hope that science will eventually prove artificial sweeteners to be beneficial, or at the very least harmless, you're likely to be disappointed. Again and again, research shows no-calorie sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose cause the same problems as excess sugar, and then some.

According to the latest statistics1 nearly 40 percent of American adults, over 18 percent of teens and nearly 14 percent of young children are now obese, not just overweight, and processed foods and sweetened beverages are clearly driving factors. Unfortunately, many make the mistake of thinking artificially sweetened products are a healthier option as it cuts down your calories, but nothing could be further from the truth.

The international trend of taxing sugary beverages to discourage sugar consumption has also had the unfortunate side effect of causing beverage makers to switch to artificial sweeteners rather than sugar and other calorie-rich sweeteners. However, when it comes to health, artificial sweeteners cause just as many health problems as sugar does.

Comment: See also:


Ambulance

Yellow fever threatens South Florida after Zika scare

mosquito-transmitted Zika virus
© Paulo Whitaker / Reuters
The Zika scare of 2016 could lead to a yellow fever panic this year if South Florida residents let down their guard when it comes to protecting themselves from disease-carrying mosquitoes.

There hasn't been a yellow fever outbreak in the United States in more than 100 years, but state health officials are concerned that a large outbreak in Brazil and others in South and Central America could lead to infected travelers bringing the disease to South Florida, which has the right mosquitoes and climate for it to spread.

The disease is deadlier than the Zika virus. Zika raised alarms because many infected pregnant women gave birth to infants having microcephaly, a condition that causes abnormally small heads and developmental defects. Yellow fever can kill. Brazil reported 1,131 cases and 338 deaths attributable to yellow fever from July to March.

Most people infected with yellow fever will get symptoms so minor they won't realize they have been infected. Even for those who do notice, the symptoms such as fever, chills and headaches don't make it stand out from many other illnesses.

Bad Guys

Federal court rules CBD oil has no medicinal value, proving government loyalty to the pharmaceutical cartel

CBD oil schedule 1 drug

A federal appeals court ruled against the thousands of people who have experienced the life-saving effects of CBD oil by upholding the decision that the substance is a Schedule 1 drug.
The United States hemp industry was dealt a major blow on Monday after the federal U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a decision by the Drug Enforcement Agency to list cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD, which is a non-psychoactive cannabis derivative, as a Schedule 1 controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act.

The hemp industry brought a lawsuit against the government in 2016, when the DEA issued a "clarifying rule" that claimed CBD was an illicit drug, due to it being a byproduct of cannabis flowers. A report in the Denver Post explained:
Represented by Denver-based cannabis law firm Hoban Law Group, the Hemp Industries Association and other hemp businesses challenged the DEA's rule and alleged the agency overstepped its bounds by essentially scheduling substances - notably cannabinoids - that were not classified as illicit in the Controlled Substances Act. Additionally, they argued, the hemp-derived extracts rich in CBD, or cannabinol, are protected under state laws and Farm Bill provisions.

The rule could be misinterpreted by other federal and local agencies, lead to unlawful product seizures and chill a booming multibillion-dollar hemp products industry, Hoban attorneys had said.

Comment: Those in government aren't likely to bite the hand that feeds them. BigPharma will fight tooth and nail to keep any profits in their own coffers by insuring that only prescription based cannabis products are legal and available, so it's a sure bet that benefits from naturally derived cannabis won't be officially recognized - ever!