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5 studies you may have missed
December 6th, 2013
12:51 PM ET

5 studies you may have missed

Here's a roundup of five medical studies published this week that might give you new insights into your health, mind and body. Remember, correlation is not causation – so if a study finds a connection between two things, it doesn't mean that one causes the other.

We’re ‘woefully unprepared’ for dementia
Report released by Alzheimer’s Disease International

More than 130 million people worldwide will have dementia by 2050, according to a report released ahead of the G8 Dementia Summit being held in London next week. And the majority of those people will live in low- and middle-income countries.

“The absence of dementia public policy renders governments woefully unprepared for the dementia epidemic,” write the authors of the report. “There is an urgent need for a collaborative, global action plan for governments, industry and non-profit organisations.”

The advocates say research on the debilitating disease needs to be made a global priority.

Read more from TIME.com

A few zaps to the brain may help you persevere
Journal: Neuron

Scientists have a long way to go before they fully comprehend the inner workings of the human mind. But if we zapped a couple of their brains in the right place, they might work even harder to figure it out.

Researchers stimulated a region known as the anterior midcingulate cortex in the brains of two epileptic patients who were undergoing surgery. The first patient reported feeling like he was psyching himself up for a challenge. The second said, “I can’t give up” and “I have to fight it… to make it through,” the study authors report. They concluded that delivering an electrical charge to the region could inspire people to persevere.

Of course, any dieter knows that just having the inspiration to do something doesn’t mean you’ll do it.

Read more from TIME.com

Overweight kids may be more injury-prone in sports
Journal: British Journal of Sports Medicine

Physical activity is good for overweight kids, right? A new study suggests that overweight children may be at slightly higher risk of leg, ankle and foot injuries during exercise.

Danish researchers looked at 632 kids between the ages of 7 to 12. All participants went to a physical education class for at least 1.5 hours per week.

Those who were overweight or obese - based on both body fat and BMI - had a higher likelihood of a lower body injury. The differences compared to kids of normal weight were small, however. The lead study author told Reuters Health that overweight kids shouldn't avoid sports, but that there should be an emphasis on prevention of injuries.

Read more: Reuters Health

Dyslexia associated with brain communication breakdown
Journal: Science

Individuals with dyslexia have difficulty reading. Specifically, they also seem to have trouble with the connections between spoken words and written symbols.

A new study gives new insights about the underlying brain biology of this condition. Researchers looked at brain scans and found that phonetic representations of language may be less accessible in people with dyslexia than in individuals without the condition. That's because of differences in brain connectivity, the scientists said.

Damaged connections between auditory and speech centers of the brain may be causing problems seen in dyslexia, study authors said. These insights could lead to improvements in treatment and therapies for the condition.

Read more from Nature

Diabetes drugs may affect women's cancer risk
Journal: Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism

A controversial group of diabetes drugs may be linked to a lower likelihood of cancer, a new study reports.

Insulin sensitizers, which include the drug Avandia, appeared to have a greater likelihood of preventing cancer than other drugs called insulin secretagogues.

Only women showed this effect, the study authors said; men with type 2 diabetes did not show a difference in cancer risk based on these drugs. But women taking insulin sensitizers had 22% less risk of cancer than those taking insulin secretagogues.

The FDA said in November that it was loosening restrictions on Avandia because of new information about its cardiovascular risk. The drug had previously been limited to patients with type 2 diabetes who could not control their illness with other medications.

Read more from the Los Angeles Times


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    Re. We’re ‘woefully unprepared’ for dementia

    As a retired social worker who supervised an Adult Protective Services unit in a California county, I can attest that there are neither enough qualified social workers, nor the funds to hire those that are qualified, to deal with the epidemic of dementia. Sufferers often have clung to their independence, more often alone than not, and serious situations develop as their disorder progresses. Not only are more social workers needed but laws regarding involuntary intervention desperately need to be changed to save lives. We're not only woefully unprepared for the coming epidemic, we're woefully equipped to deal with the existing situation.

    December 7, 2013 at 06:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. lagunalady27

    Why is there an upcoming epidemic in dementia? Are baby boomers more predisposed to the disease, or is it just that there are more of them? Why not work on prevention? Boomers are not stupid. Tell them specifically what to do to prevent the disease, and many will follow through, thus avoiding the situation!

    December 7, 2013 at 19:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nobody you know

      What means of "prevention" can you identify? I haven't read about anything that's been shown to prevent dementia. Have you? If so, cite your sources.

      December 15, 2013 at 22:17 | Report abuse |
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    In the excerpt " A Few Zaps To The Brain May Help You Persevere " the author states that " Scientists have a long way to go before they fully comprehend the inner workings of the human mind. " But according to him some studies led to the discovery that giving an electrical charge to the anterior midcingulate cortex, a part of the brain, could inspire people to persevere.

    In my opinion this article just goes to show how advanced science has come to be. Just knowing that we can now persevere our our thoughts just makes me think of all the possible findings to come. This might just be a portion of what this discovery will become. Altering the brain is dangerous but doing it for a good cause is maybe what some people need.

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