Study: Popular heartburn medications may increase dementia risk

Published: Wednesday, February 17, 2016 @ 2:26 PM
Updated: Wednesday, February 17, 2016 @ 2:26 PM

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A preliminary study conducted by German researchers found an association in the use of proton pump inhibitors and an increased risk of dementia.

The researchers stressed that the study’s results only demonstrated an association, not a cause-and-effect relationship, and that clinical trials would be necessary to explore the association further.

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The study, published Monday in JAMA, studied the increased dementia risk for elderly patients using proton pump inhibitors, known as PPIs. The drugs examined in the study included omeprazole, pantoprazole, lansoprazole, esomeprazole and rabeprazole, which includes popular brands such as Prilosec, Nexium, and Prevacid. A pool of over 73,000 patients, age 75 and over, were analyzed for the study. Germany’s largest health insurer provided the data used in the study.

The researchers found a 44 percent increased risk of dementia in those elderly patients who were regularly taking PPIs versus those who were not taking the heartburn medications.

According to Medical Daily, the use of PPIs has also been linked to an increased risk of kidney disease.

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Startup offering to preserve brain with '100 percent fatal' procedure for $10,000

Published: Friday, March 16, 2018 @ 4:57 PM

Startup Offering “100% Fatal' Way to Preserve Brain

Need a way to hold on to your memories forever? One startup is offering a special, but fatal, procedure to help you keep your brain active.

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Researchers at Nectome, a medical company founded by MIT graduates, have discovered a way to maintain brain functionality after death with high-tech embalming, a process used to prevent a body from decay. 

“Our mission is to preserve your brain well enough to keep all its memories intact: from that great chapter of your favorite book to the feeling of cold winter air, baking an apple pie, or having dinner with your friends and family,” co-founders Robert McIntyre and Michael McCanna wrote on the business’ website.

 >> On If you don’t get enough sleep, your brain could start eating itself

They will target patients suffering from terminal illnesses. The individuals will be sedated, connected to heart and lung machines, and injected with the embalming chemicals while they are alive. 

The procedure is “100 percent fatal,” the founders warned, but the solution “can keep a body intact for hundreds of years, maybe thousands, as a statue of frozen glass.”

The analysts believe their investigations will help future scientists “recreate consciousness” and retrieve information from the brain’s molecular details. 

>> Related: A few glasses of wine a day can keep your brain ‘clean,’ study says

“You can think of what we do as a fancy form of embalming that preserves not just the outer details but the inner details,” McIntyre told MIT Technology Review.

“If the brain is dead, it’s like your computer is off, but that doesn’t mean the information isn’t there,” added Ken Hayworth, a neuroscientist and president of the Brain Preservation Foundation -- the organization that awarded McIntyre for his recent work on preserving the pig brain.

>> Related: Scientists worry brain-wasting 'zombie deer' disease could spread to humans

The surgery is not yet available to the public as they are still unsure if the memories will be found in the dead tissues. However, they are inviting prospective customers to join a wait list for a $10,000 deposit, which is fully refundable. So far, 25 people have signed up. 

“When a generation of people die, we lose all their collective wisdom. You can transmit knowledge to the next generation, but it’s harder to transmit wisdom, which is learned,” McIntyre said. “That was fine for a while, but we get more powerful every generation. The sheer immense potential of what we can do increases, but the wisdom does not.”


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NASA: 2 asteroids pass near Earth this week

Published: Thursday, February 08, 2018 @ 2:24 PM

Asteroid Fast Facts

A small, newly discovered asteroid passed near Earth earlier his week and a second one is expected to follow suit Friday, according to scientists with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

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The asteroids were spotted Sunday by researchers at the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Arizona.

The first, dubbed 2018 CC, passed within about 114,000 miles of Earth around 3:10 p.m. EST Tuesday, according to NASA. Scientists estimated the asteroid was 50-100 feet in diameter.

The second asteroid, called 2018 CB, will pass near Earth around 5:30 p.m. EST Friday at distance of about 39,000 miles, less than one-fifth of the distance between Earth and the moon, according to NASA. It’s slightly larger than the first asteroid, between 50 and 130 feet in diameter.

>> Related: Asteroid passes inside Earth’s satellite ring, ’20 times closer than moon’

"Although 2018 CB is quite small, it might well be larger than the asteroid that entered the atmosphere over Chelyabinsk, Russia, almost exactly five years ago, in 2013," Paul Chodas, manager of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a news release. 

>> Related: NASA finds 'lost' lunar spacecraft orbiting moon nearly a decade after it disappeared

In February 2013, a fireball lit the skies above Chelyabinsk as a small asteroid entered Earth’s atmosphere. The asteroid was estimated to be 55-65 feet in diameter.

"Asteroids of this size do not often approach this close to our planet -- maybe only once or twice a year," Chodas said.

Most Iconic NASA Moments

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'Potentially hazardous' monster asteroid will fly close to Earth

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 2:08 AM

Massive Asteroid Flying Close to Earth

monster space rock classified by NASA as "potentially hazardous" is headed toward Earth.

Asteroid 2002 AJ129 – which at 0.7 miles is wider than the tallest building in the U.S. (New York's One World Trade Center) stacked on top of itself – is predicted to miss our planet, according to Metro. However, it will pass relatively close in terms of outer space.

>> On NASA: Asteroid could destroy Earth in 22nd century

NASA classifies any space object surpassing 459 feet wide and passing within 4,660,000 miles of Earth as "hazardous," according to a 2013 report on the space agency's website. There are about 1,000 such known space objects monitored by NASA.

This asteroid is more than eight times wider than the minimum (3,696 feet) and will pass within just over half the minimum distance (2,615,128 miles) to our planet.

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For a reference point, the moon orbits Earth at a distance of about 238,855 miles.

The giant asteroid is expected to "narrowly" miss our planet on Feb. 4, whizzing past us at a whopping 67,000 miles per hour. It will be the biggest and fastest space object to fly near Earth this year, according to The Daily Star.

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What is Dry January? Taking a break from alcohol can improve sleep and weight, study says

Published: Thursday, January 04, 2018 @ 11:35 AM

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(Carl Court/Getty Images)

The holiday season is officially over, and many are now looking at their New Year’s resolutions, which may include maintaining a healthier lifestyle.

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To get a head start, some are participating in Dry January, a month-long break from alcohol. But how effective is it?

Researchers from the University of Sussex conducted a study, published in Health Psychology, to find out. 

They examined more than 850 individuals who gave Dry January a try. They then followed up with a questionnaire one month later and another six months later.

>> Related: Just one drink a day can increase your risk of cancer, study warns

After analyzing the results, they found that after six months, participants said they drank less and were not getting drunk as much.

In fact, 72 percent of the subjects had maintained lower levels of harmful drinking and 4 percent were still not drinking after six months.

After just one month, about 62 percent reported having better sleep, 62 percent said they had more energy and 49 percent experienced weight loss.

>> Related: Women who use IUDs may have reduced risk of cervical cancer, study says

The changes were also seen for those who did not make it to the end of the challenge. “Even if participants took part but didn’t successfully complete the 31 days, it generally led to a significant decrease across all the measures of alcohol intake,” Richard de Visser said in a statement.

The scientists believe their findings prove the challenge can be used to help reduce drinking long-term, added Emily Robinson, director of campaigns at Alcohol Concern, a U.K. charity to combat alcohol harm.

“This research,” she said, “is the proof of how, with the help, advice and support we offer throughout the month, our model can really change behaviour and reduce drinking.”

Tips For Keeping Your New Year's Resolutions

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