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Thu, 27 Jul 2017
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Health & Wellness


Global dementia costs hit £388bn

© Dennis Hallinan/Alamy
A woman with Alzheimer's. The global cost of dementia this year, £388bn, includes social care, unpaid care and medical bills.
Social care, unpaid care and medical costs total more than 1% of GDP and are likely to rise by 85% by 2030, report says

The global cost of dementia this year will be £388bn - more than 1% of GDP - and governments are unprepared to meet the challenge, according to a report released today.

The cost of social care, unpaid care by relatives and the medical bills for treating dementia was calculated in the World Alzheimer's Report 2010. Experts from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and King's College London examined the cost of dementia care and found that, if it was a country, it would be the world's 18th biggest economy.

If it was a company, it would be the world's biggest by annual revenue, higher than Wal-Mart (£265.6bn) and Exxon Mobil (£200bn).

Campaigners have already warned that the costs of caring for people with dementia are on the rise, mostly due to people living longer. The number of people with dementia, currently 35.6 million, will almost double by 2030 to 65.7 million, and more than triple by 2050, when it is estimated there will be 115.4 million people with the disease.

The study said the costs will rise even faster than the prevalence of dementia - there could be an 85% increase in worldwide costs by 2030. In the UK, the Alzheimer's Society estimated dementia currently costs the country £20bn a year.

Comment: For more information on counteracting dementia, see these Sott links:

Read, Eat Well and Keep Spirits High to Avoid Dementia

Stress in Middle Age Could Contribute to Late-Life Dementia

Educated people cope better with dementia


Ditch Bottled Water

© IStockPhoto/Jo Ann Snover
We have heard it before; bottled water is an environmental evil. The water isn't much different than tap water, it costs to transport it, chemicals can leach into your water and the plastic is piling up in landfills. Even with those cons, the bottled water industry is worth $11 billion dollars, and Beverage Marketing Corporation's statistics from 2008 report that the U.S. leads in bottled water consumption at 8.7 billion gallons. Yikes. But it's the convenience of just grabbing a bottle and going on with the day that keeps the consumer drinking up more.

Stopping your bottled water habits requires change. To end reliance on bottled water when we are out and about, we have to think reusable. For you, this could mean bottles made of glass, plastics, aluminum or steel. There are endless options.


Lunching for Longevity: Anti-Inflammatory Eating

© greenarbytheday.wordpress.com
If I asked you whether you would want to live longer and avoid serious health issues, I'm pretty sure you'd answer with an unequivocal "Yes!"

Advertisements are plentiful for all kinds of products and supplements that purport to improve longevity or fend off disease. What may be harder to find, however, are ways you can influence these yourself without "six easy payments."

The Inflammation Link

We now know that many diseases are linked to low-grade inflammation in the body. If we can lower inflammation through our diets, there is a good chance of lowering incidence of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, arthritis and other medical issues.

Most health care professional concur that if an individual follows the basic principles outlined below for clean, anti-inflammatory eating, many illnesses could be prevented.

Sound too good to be true? It really isn't. Let's look at how we got to this point and how you can shift to eating foods that lower inflammation.

Comment: To learn more about the importance of an anti inflammatory diet read the following thread on the forum: Anti-Candida, Inflammation, Heavy Metals Detox and Diet


Common Plants Can Eliminate Indoor Air Pollutants

© Stanley Kays
Hemigraphis alternata, or purple waffle plant, one of the highest rated ornamentals for removing indoor air pollutants.
Air quality in homes, offices, and other indoor spaces is becoming a major health concern, particularly in developed countries where people often spend more than 90% of their time indoors. Surprisingly, indoor air has been reported to be as much as 12 times more polluted than outdoor air in some areas. Indoor air pollutants emanate from paints, varnishes, adhesives, furnishings, clothing, solvents, building materials, and even tap water. A long list of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs [including benzene, xylene, hexane, heptane, octane, decane, trichloroethylene (TCE), and methylene chloride], have been shown to cause illnesses in people who are exposed to the compounds in indoor spaces. Acute illnesses like asthma and nausea and chronic diseases including cancer, neurologic, reproductive, developmental, and respiratory disorders are all linked to exposure to VOCs. Harmful indoor pollutants represent a serious health problem that is responsible for more than 1.6 million deaths each year, according to a 2002 World Health Organization report.


Don't Sugar-Coat High-Fructose Corn Syrup

© poolie/flickr
"Just make it an unintelligible symbol so we have to resort to saying, 'the substance formerly known as high-fructose corn syrup,'" one caller suggested on a WNYC public radio program about the Corn Refiners Association proposal to rename the ingredient "corn sugar." The rebranding campaign has gotten a lot of media attention, from the mainstream press to the foodie blogosphere. Last Friday, I was on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show with NYU professor Marion Nestle to weigh in. When asked what she thinks it should be called, Nestle made the point that the stuff should really be called "corn sugars," plural, because it's technically more than one sugar. She said she didn't necessarily mind the name change; it could actually help clarify what it is: yet another added sugar we shouldn't be eating.

Though I see her point - high-fructose corn syrup is a bit of a mouthful, and what does it mean anyway? - I am concerned about changing the name.


Vaccine Pushed on Infants Causes Drug-Resistant Pneumonia

© unknown
Vaccine Pushed on Infants Causes Drug-Resistant Pneumonia: JAMA Study Aside from the direct risks of vaccination, yet another is now clearly documented: drug-resistant forms of the diseases.

A drug-resistant strain of pneumonia is the result of a highly-praised vaccine routinely given to infants three times in their first year of life, according to a study that will be published in tomorrow's Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The timing of this study is particularly interesting, as it comes shortly after the replacement of the heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV-7) with an updated version, PCV-13.


Fish or frankenfish? FDA weighs altered salmon

A wild salmon swims up a stream in Alaska. Environmental and food safety groups are concerned genetically engineered slamon could not only endanger wild salmon but open the door to other kinds of genetically modified animal foods that may pose health or environmental dangers.
Fish or frankenfish? A Massachusetts company wants to market a genetically engineered version of Atlantic salmon, and regulators are weighing the request. If approval is given, it would be the first time the government allowed such modified animals to join the foods that go onto the nation's dinner tables.

Ron Stotish, CEO of AquaBounty, said at Monday's first of two days of hearings that his company's fish product is safe and environmentally sustainable.

Food and Drug Administration officials have largely agreed with him, saying that the salmon, which grows twice as fast as its conventional "sisters," is as safe to eat as the traditional variety. But they have not yet decided whether to approve the request.

Critics call the modified salmon a "frankenfish" that could cause allergies in humans and the eventual decimation of the wild salmon population. An FDA advisory committee is reviewing the science of the genetically engineered fish this week and hearing such criticisms as the agency ponders approval.

Heart - Black

New Drugs Stir Debate on Rules of Clinical Trials

© New York Times
Two Cousins, Two Paths Thomas McLaughlin, left, was given a promising experimental drug to treat his lethal skin cancer in a medical trial; Brandon Ryan had to go without it.
Growing up in California's rural Central Valley, the two cousins spent summers racing dirt bikes and Christmases at their grandmother's on the coast. Endowed with a similar brash charm, they bought each other matching hardhats and sought iron-working jobs together. They shared a love for the rush that comes with hanging steel at dizzying heights, and a knack for collecting speeding tickets.

And when, last year, each learned that a lethal skin cancer called melanoma was spreading rapidly through his body, the young men found themselves with the shared chance of benefiting from a recent medical breakthrough.

Only months before, a new drug had shown that it could safely slow the cancer's progress in certain patients. Both cousins had the type of tumor almost sure to respond to it. And major cancer centers, including the University of California, Los Angeles, were enrolling patients for the last, crucial test that regulators required to consider approving it for sale.

"Dude, you have to get on these superpills," Thomas McLaughlin, then 24, whose melanoma was diagnosed first, urged his cousin, Brandon Ryan. Mr. McLaughlin's tumors had stopped growing after two months of taking the pills.

But when Mr. Ryan, 22, was admitted to the trial in May, he was assigned by a computer lottery to what is known as the control arm. Instead of the pills, he was to get infusions of the chemotherapy drug that has been the notoriously ineffective recourse in treating melanoma for 30 years.

Even if it became clear that the chemotherapy could not hold back the tumors advancing into his lungs, liver and, most painfully, his spine, he would not be allowed to switch, lest it muddy the trial's results.


Juicing rare and unavailable strains of cannabis shown to benefit health

© Karl Vick/Washington Post
Courtney juices carrots to cut the harsh taste of the ingredient, which is largely absent in psychotropic variety of cannabis.
The one-armed man loitered in the waiting room for much of the morning, flipping through magazines with impressive dexterity, quietly waiting for word that the doctor would see him. Now.

William Courtney, MD, offered the chair to the right of the desk, the one occupied during regular office hours by a steady stream of patients seeking a doctor's recommendation for marijuana. In California, such a recommendation means an adult may grow, buy and smoke marijuana, all while remaining safely within the confines of state law.

The singular peculiarity of Courtney's "pot doc" practice here in Northern California is what he recommends: Don't smoke the stuff, he tells patients. Eat it.

Marijuana, he avers to every person who appears before him, turns out to be brimming with healing compounds. It won't get you high eaten raw, but juiced with a handful of carrots to cut the bitter taste, its leaves and buds may well have restored the health of his girlfriend, who had been given a diagnosis of lupus and a butcher's bill of other disorders that lab tests show have subsided. A local sufferer of Crohn's disease credits the plant with helping reverse the debilitating intestinal disorder. And published research from accredited laboratories suggests promise in preventing diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's, cancers and assorted maladies arising from chronic inflammation.

Yet almost no one knows any of this beyond a handful of scientists
, including two at the National Institutes of Health who were sufficiently impressed that they joined a Nobel laureate in patenting a cannabis molecule. Courtney hands a copy of their U.S. Patent 6630507 to occupants of the chair, typically midway through a jargon-rich spiel that sometimes hits the patient right in the wheelhouse and sometimes goes whizzing overhead.

Comment: Cannabis Compound Halts Cancer
Marijuana Ingredient May Prevent Mad Cow Disease
Big Pharma Is in a Frenzy to Bring Cannabis-Based Medicines to Market

Arrow Up

Exercise Really Does Make You Clever: Fit Children Have Better Memories, Experts Say

© Alamy
Physically fit children performed better in memory tests and had larger hippocampi, according to a new study.
If you want to boost your child's results at school, you could do a lot worse than ensuring that they do plenty of exercise.

Scientists have already shown that physical activity can make you brainier. But a team in America has used scans to show that an important part of the brain actually grows in children who are fit.

These youngsters tend to be more intelligent and have better memories than those who are inactive.

Scientists also found that one of the most important parts of their brains was 12 per cent larger than those of unfit youngsters.