Tuesday July 17, 2018

Memory and thinking tests can help in early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease: New Study

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New York: Even if symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease become apparent in old age, the biological processes that cause the mental decline may begin a couple of decades ago in the ‘middle age’, suggests a new study by an Indian-origin researcher.

Low scores on memory and thinking tests may signal Alzheimer’s up to 18 years before the disease can be diagnosed, the findings showed.

“The changes in thinking and memory that precede obvious symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease begin decades before,” said study author Kumar Bharat Rajan, assistant professor, at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

“While we cannot currently detect such changes in individuals at risk, we were able to observe them among a group of individuals who eventually developed dementia due to Alzheimer’s,” said Rajan, an alumnus of Madras Christian College.

For the study, 2,125 people from Chicago, with an average age of 73, without Alzheimer’s disease were given tests of memory and thinking skills every three years for 18 years.

The researchers found that those who were finally diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, scored lower overall on the memory and thinking tests throughout the study.

One unit lower in performance of the standardized cognitive test score was associated with an 85 percent greater risk of future dementia.

“A general current concept is that in development of Alzheimer’s disease, certain physical and biologic changes precede memory and thinking impairment. If this is so then these underlying processes may have a very long duration. Efforts to successfully prevent the disease may well require a better understanding of these processes near middle age,” Rajan said.

The research was published online in The Journal of Neurology. (IANS)

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Mysterious Health Incidents Affect 1 More American in Cuba

In all, 25 Americans have been affected by the mystery ailment in Cuba

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A view of the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba on Sept.18, 2017.
A view of the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba on Sept.18, 2017. VOA

One more U.S. Embassy employee in Havana, Cuba, has been affected by mysterious health incidents, the State Department said.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said one of two Americans recently evacuated from Cuba was “medically confirmed” to have been affected, while the other was “still being evaluated” by doctors.

25 Americans affected

In all, 25 Americans have been affected by the mystery ailment in Cuba.

“We still don’t know, to this day, what is causing it and who is responsible,” Nauert said, noting that investigations were underway in Havana as well as Guangzhou, China, where one employee experienced similar symptoms recently.

The United States has said that the Cuba incidents started in late 2016. The State Department calls them “specific attacks” but has not said what caused them or who was behind them. Cuba has adamantly denied involvement or knowledge.

Initial speculation centered on some type of sonic attack owing to strange sounds heard by those affected, but an interim FBI report in January found no evidence that sound waves could have caused the damage, The Associated Press has reported.

Secretary Kerry Touts Virtues of 10-Year U.S.-China Business and Tourism Visas Before Presenting First Documents in Beijing
Secretary Kerry Touts Virtues of 10-Year U.S.-China Business and Tourism Visas Before Presenting First Documents in Beijing, flickr

Warning issued in China

The State Department issued a health warning after the employee in China reported experiencing “subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure” and was diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described it as a “serious medical incident.”

Also read: Cuba Invites United Nations human rights Investigator for first time in decade regarding Human Trafficking

The new confirmation came less than a week after the U.S. renewed demands on Cuba to determine the source of the “attacks” on U.S. diplomats. Cuba responded by again denying any involvement in or knowledge of any such attacks. (VOA)