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Sun, 25 Sep 2016
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Health & Wellness


Alzheimer's, Dementia Rise Faster Than Expected, Report Says

Alzheimer's disease and other dementias will afflict 35.6 million people in 2010, about 10 percent more than previously estimated because of a higher number of cases in developing countries than doctors realized, researchers said.

The number of dementia sufferers may almost double every 20 years to 115.4 million in 2050, researchers at Alzheimer's Disease International said in a report. The report's authors had previously projected lower numbers in a 2005 article in the Lancet.

Comment: The sharper increase in Alzheimers in developing countries may likely be due to mercury poisoning. But Eli Lilly and Bristol-Myers Squibb will not want people to know how easy and relatively inexpensive it is to detox the body from mercury and other heavy metals.


More scare tactics: Flu viruses can spark heart attacks

London - Heart patients who catch the flu may have more to worry about than just a fever or the sniffles: the virus could also spark a heart attack, new research shows.

Amid the global outbreak of swine flu, experts say it's crucial that heart patients get vaccinated against both regular flu and swine flu to avoid medical problems. Doctors said swine flu isn't any more dangerous than regular flu, but it's important for heart patients to get vaccinated because more flu viruses will be circulating this year.


Placebos Are Getting More Effective and Drugmakers Are Desperate to Know Why

Merck was in trouble. In 2002, the pharmaceutical giant was falling behind its rivals in sales. Even worse, patents on five blockbuster drugs were about to expire, which would allow cheaper generics to flood the market. The company hadn't introduced a truly new product in three years, and its stock price was plummeting.

In interviews with the press, Edward Scolnick, Merck's research director, laid out his battle plan to restore the firm to preeminence. Key to his strategy was expanding the company's reach into the antidepressant market, where Merck had lagged while competitors like Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline created some of the best-selling drugs in the world. "To remain dominant in the future," he told Forbes, "we need to dominate the central nervous system."
© Wired


Persistent Pain May Accelerate Signs Of Aging By Two To Three Decades In Middle-Aged Adults

Younger people with pain look similar in terms of their disability to people who are two to three decades older without pain, according to a study published in this month's issue of the Journal of the American Geriatric Society. The results of the study uncovered that people with pain develop the functional limitations classically associated with aging at much earlier ages.

Functional limitations that impair the ability to live independently increase markedly with age, and to examine the effect researchers looked at the data from the 18,531participants, aged 50 and older, who took part in the 2004 Health and Retirement Study. The four physical abilities considered were: mobility, for example walking or jogging; stair climbing; upper extremity tasks, and; activity of daily living (bathing, dressing, eating etc) with or without help.


Researchers Discover Molecule Responsible for Axonal Branching

The human brain consists of about 100 billion (1011) neurons, which altogether form about 100 trillion (1014) synaptic connections with each other. A crucial mechanism for the generation of this complex wiring pattern is the formation of neuronal branches. The neurobiologists Dr. Hannes Schmidt and Professor Fritz G. Rathjen at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch, Germany, have now discovered a molecule that regulates this vital process. At the same time they have succeeded in elucidating the signaling cascade induced by this molecule (PNAS, Early Edition, 2009, doi:10.1073)*.

Through the ramification of its fiber-like axon, a single neuron can send branches and thus transmit information into several target areas at the same time. In principle, neurobiologists distinguish between two kinds of axonal branching: branching of the growth cone at the tip of an axon and the sprouting of collaterals (interstitial branching) from the axon shaft.

Both forms of axonal branching can be observed in sensory neurons, which transmit the sensation of touch, pain and temperature, among others. When the axons of these neurons reach the spinal cord, their growth cones first split (bifurcate) and consequently the axons divide into two branches growing in opposite directions. Later new branches sprout from the shaft of these daughter axons which penetrate the gray matter of the spinal cord.


Scientists Make Paralyzed Rats Walk Again After Spinal-Cord Injury

UCLA researchers have discovered that a combination of drugs, electrical stimulation and regular exercise can enable paralyzed rats to walk and even run again while supporting their full weight on a treadmill.

Published Nov. 20 in the online edition of Nature Neuroscience, the findings suggest that the regeneration of severed nerve fibers is not required for paraplegic rats to learn to walk again. The finding may hold implications for human rehabilitation after spinal cord injuries.

"The spinal cord contains nerve circuits that can generate rhythmic activity without input from the brain to drive the hind leg muscles in a way that resembles walking called 'stepping,'" explained principal investigator Reggie Edgerton, a professor of neurobiology and physiological sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

"Previous studies have tried to tap into this circuitry to help victims of spinal cord injury," he added. "While other researchers have elicited similar leg movements in people with complete spinal injuries, they have not achieved full weight-bearing and sustained stepping as we have in our study."


Leaked UN Report Claims Swine Flu Could "Kill Millions" and Cause "Anarchy" in Poor Nations

A UN report leaked to The Observer claims that swine flu could "kill millions" of people in poor nations and cause a total breakdown of society unless wealthy nations come up with US$1.5 billion to pay for pandemic vaccines and anti-viral drugs. It warns that the fragile economies of developing nations could be completely destroyed by the breakdown of social services, infrastructure and medical care.

The report specifically says:
"Countries where health services are overburdened by diseases, such as HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria, will have great difficulty managing the surge of cases. And if the electricity and water sectors are not able to maintain services, this will have serious implications for the ability of the health sector to function. ...If suppliers of fuel, food, telecommunications, finance or transport services have not developed plans as to how they would continue to deliver their services, the consequences could be significantly intensified."
This UN report identifies 75 countries that remain vulnerable to this chaos scenario: 6 nations in South America, 21 nations from Asia and 40 in Africa. The only way to prevent the possible collapse of these nations, the report says, is for this $1.5 billion to be spent on vaccines and anti-viral drugs.


Vitamin C Deficiency May Damage Babies' Mental Development

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), learning disabilities are disorders that affect the ability to understand or use spoken or written language, do math calculations, coordinate movements, or direct attention. And the number of Americans with these kinds of learning disabilities is inexplicably huge. In fact, the NINDS web site states eight to 10 percent of all US children under the age of 18 have some type of learning disability.

While the NINDS lists speech therapy and drugs as ways to help youngsters cope with learning disabilities, the big question is what on earth causes so many children to have these learning problems in the first place? Now a new study suggests an explanation. Scientists from the life sciences division of the University of Copenhagen think a lack of vitamin C could impair the mental development of babies both in the womb and as newborns.

Research just published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that guinea pigs subjected to moderate vitamin C deficiency had 30 per cent less hippocampus neurons (brain cells that convey information during new learning that involves associations) and far worse spatial memory than guinea pigs given a normal diet. So what does this have to do with humans? People, like guinea pigs, also can only get vitamin C through their diet or supplements. So Jens Lykkesfeldt, who headed the research team, speculates vitamin C deficiency in pregnant and breast-feeding women may lead to the same kind of learning problems in developing human fetuses and newborn babies as was seen in the vitamin C deficit guinea pig offspring.


Basil is a Natural Anti-Inflammatory Herb

Basil was recently shown to reduce swelling and inflammation in arthritic patients by about 73 percent, which is on par with commonly used drugs for arthritis. The researcher who presented the results at The British Pharmacology Conference said they were going to begin studying the properties of basil to determine the active compounds which could be made into drugs. This is in contrast to just encouraging people to eat more fresh, organic basil. Many people however, see the logic in simply consuming more basil on a regular basis, while forgoing toxic drugs.

Basil actively inhibits the same enzyme that anti-inflammatory drugs do, including Ibuprofen and Tylenol. Except you won't fall over dead from eating too much basil, as was recently publicized is what often happens from consuming too much Tylenol. And really, if taking a bit more than the recommended amount of Tylenol is causing liver damage and killing people, wouldn't you say that taking any is too much?

Arthritic or not, basil contains many valuable properties, as most herbs do. The problem is, most people just don't eat enough herbs or make them a key component of at least one meal each day.


The Handwriting of Liars

© PhysOrg
Forget about unreliable polygraph lie detectors for identifying liars. A new study claims the best way to find out if someone is a liar is to look at their handwriting, rather than analyzing their word choice, eye movements and body language.

The study by Gil Luria and Sara Rosenblum from the University of Haifa in Israel, tested 34 volunteers, who were each asked to write two stories using a system called ComPET (Computerized Penmanship Evaluation Tool), which comprises a piece of paper positioned on a computer tablet and a wireless electronic pen with a pressure-sensitive tip. Using the system, the subjects wrote one paragraph about a true memory, and one that was made up.

The researchers analyzed the writing and discovered that in the untrue paragraphs the subjects on average pressed down harder on the paper and made significantly longer strokes and taller letters than in the true paragraphs. The differences were not visible to the eye, but were detectable by computer analysis. There were no differences in writing speed.