Thursday January 18, 2018

135 million Americans likely to suffer from Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) by 2050: Study

In mild cognitive impairment, people have noticeably reduced memory but are able to lead otherwise normal lives

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Cognitive Impairment
Alzheimer's disease patient Isidora Tomaz, 82, sits in an armchair in her house in Lisbon, Portugal. It’s predicted that by 2050, 135 million Americans are going to suffer from mild cognitive impairment, a precursor of Alzheimer's. VOA
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  • In mild cognitive impairment, people have noticeably reduced memory but are able to lead otherwise normal lives
  • In the Australian study, investigators showed that exercise in the form of progressive resistance training improved brain function in those over the age of 55
  • The findings confirm earlier studies this year on MRI that showed increases in the size of particular brain regions associated with improvements in cognitive training among the weight lifters

As populations continue to age, more and more people are going to begin to experience mild cognitive impairment, a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease. It’s predicted that by 2050, 135 million Americans are going to suffer from mild cognitive impairment, or MCI. But the results of a new study in Australia show that increased muscle strength can improve brain function in older adults.

In mild cognitive impairment, people have noticeably reduced memory but are able to lead otherwise normal lives.

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In the Australian study, investigators showed that exercise in the form of progressive resistance training improved brain function in those over the age of 55.

In the study, called the Study of Mental and Resistance training or SMART, 100 adults with MCI, between the ages of 55 and 86, were divided into four groups.

One group received lessons in resistance exercise and computerized cognitive training, another group was given resistance training but got placebo computerized training. Still another group received brain training but went through a fake exercise routine and a final group was given fakes in both exercise and cognitive training.

Researchers wanted to see whether there was a positive link between muscle strengthening and brain functioning.

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Resistance training included weight lifting sessions with gradually increased weights over time. Those who were able to lift weights to an intensity of 80 percent of their peak strength had the greatest improvement in cognitive function as measured by an Alzheimer’s disease assessment scale. The benefits endured even a year after the supervised strength training exercises stopped.

The findings were published in the Journal of American Geriatrics.

Researchers say the key is for older adults to do resistance strength training, like lifting weights, at least two times per week.

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The findings confirm earlier studies this year on MRI that showed increases in the size of particular brain regions associated with improvements in cognitive training among the weight lifters.

It could be that resistance exercise may be prescribed as a way to stave off cognitive impairment once the researchers confirm a link between muscle strength training and improved cognition in older patients. (VOA)

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Viral hepatitis Caused 1.34 mn Deaths Globally: Study

Viral hepatitis was found to be amongst the top ten leading global killers

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Viral hepatitis
World Health Organization poster for Hepatitis Campaign. VOA

London, Sep 16, 2017: Viral hepatitis with 1.34 million deaths globally has surpassed all chronic infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, according to a study by Global Burden of Disease.

The study reveals that in 2016, the total deaths caused by viral hepatitis, including liver cancer, acute cases, cirrhosis, hepatitis A, E, B, C and D account for 1.34 million globally, exceeding tuberculosis (1.2 million), HIV/AIDS (1 million) and malaria (719,000).

These staggering death rates occurred despite recent advances in hepatitis C medications that can cure most infections within three months and the availability of highly-effective vaccinations for hepatitis B.

“It’s outrageous, but not surprising, that the Global Burden of Disease Report found that deaths related to viral hepatitis have surpassed HIV, TB and malaria” said Charles Gore, President of the World Hepatitis Alliance — a not-for profit organisation based in London.

“This is largely due to a historic lack of political prioritisation coupled with an absent global funding mechanism,” Gore added, in the paper published in the journal the Lancet.

Further, viral hepatitis was found to be amongst the top ten leading global killers which include heart disease, road accidents, Alzheimer’s disease, amongst others.

Also Read: WHO Calls for stepped up action to Eliminate Hepatitis B and C by 2030 

If this trend has to be reversed, immediate action must be taken at both a regional and national level, said the report, while suggesting measures such as scaling up testing and diagnosis.

Viral hepatitis is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus and only 5 per cent of people living with the disease are aware of their conditions there are only few noticeable symptoms.

As a result, many people are either misdiagnosed or do not come forward for testing, increasing the chance of infecting others and missing the opportunity to access life-saving treatment.

Reducing hepatitis related deaths by 65 per cent by 2030 is a key component of the World Health Organization’s Global Hepatitis Strategy.

The strategy, which was adopted by 194 governments, sets out a list of key targets, which, if achieved, will eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030. (IANS)