Older adults more forgetful because brain rhythms don’t sync during sleep, study says

Published: Sunday, December 24, 2017 @ 10:03 AM


Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images
(Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Wonder why people tend to forget more as they age? Their changing sleep patterns may have something to do with it, according to a new report.

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Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley recently conducted an experiment, published in the Neuron journal, to determine how brain rhythms in sleep can affect memory loss. 

To do so, they examined 20 young adults and 32 people in their 60s and 70s. They asked both groups to memorize 120 pairs of words, and they observed their sleeping patterns by using electrodes, a device that monitors the electrical waves produced by the brain. They paid close attention to slow waves, which occur every second, and fast waves or sleep spindles, which happen about 12 times a second. 

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The next morning, the participants took a test, which tasked them with recording the word pairs they could remember. After analyzing the results, they found the brain waves among older adults were less synchronized and they recalled fewer word pairs, compared to the younger subjects. 

Why is that?

“Like swinging a tennis racket during a ball toss to serve an ace, slow and speedy brainwaves during deep sleep must sync up at exactly the right moment to hit the save button on new memories,” the researchers wrote in a statement. “As the brain ages, it cannot precisely coordinate these two deep-sleep brain waves. The mistiming prevents older people from being able to effectively hit the save button on new memories, leading to overnight forgetting rather than remembering.”

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Furthermore, researchers revealed an aging brain doesn’t coordinate deep-sleep waves, because of degradation or atrophy of the medial brain cortex, the area known for for generating deep snooze.

“The worse the atrophy in this brain region of older adults, the more uncoordinated and poorly timed are their deep-sleep brainwaves,” they said. “But there is a silver lining: Sleep is now a new target for potential therapeutic intervention.”

That’s why scientist hope to administer further investigations that use electrical brain stimulation to help sync the slow and fast waves. 

>> Related: Lack of sleep makes your brain work slower

“By electrically boosting these nighttime brainwaves,” they said, “we hope to restore some degree of healthy deep sleep in the elderly and those with dementia, and in doing so, salvage aspects of their learning and memory.”

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Georgia restaurant owner accused of assaulting employee over wrong order

Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 @ 11:01 PM

Attorneys Kayla Bumpus (left) and Muwali Davis (right) speak about Ju’Nea Turner’s case during a news conference Wednesday. (RAISA HABERSHAM / RAISA.HABERSHAM@AJC.COM)
Attorneys Kayla Bumpus (left) and Muwali Davis (right) speak about Ju’Nea Turner’s case during a news conference Wednesday. (RAISA HABERSHAM / RAISA.HABERSHAM@AJC.COM)

Attorneys for a former Gwinnett County, Georgia, restaurant employee said their client was fired after a video posted on Facebook appeared to show the owner assaulting her after a customer complained about an incorrect order.

>> Read more trending news 

At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Ju’Nea Turner said she suffered bruises on her breast during the alleged assault. which was captured by a customer’s cellphone.

Turner and her attorneys, Muwali Davis and Kayla Bumpus, have now filed a warrant application, allowing her to seek assault and battery charges against the owner, listed on the restaurant’s website as Mr. Lee.

A hearing is scheduled for June 13. 

The viral video, which has been online since the incident occurred on Friday, shows the former Doo’s Seafood and Deli employee yelling at Lee after he accused her of incorrectly filling an order. The owner said the customer’s refund would be taken out of her paycheck, Turner’s attorneys allege. The customer claimed in the video that Lee’s wife placed the incorrect order. 

“I was just trying to make sure I wasn’t financially punished for someone else’s mistakes,” Turner said at the news conference. 

WARNING: Video contains explicit language

Seconds into the cellphone video, the owner appears to knock food out of Turner’s hand and shove her in front of the complaining customer, the employees and the other customers inside the Snellville business.

The cellphone camera was not pointed at the employee or the owner when the physical contact occurred. 

Surveillance footage from a different angle shows that the owner grabbed the food tray from Turner and then pushed against her left shoulder.

“What happened to her was something that no one should have to endure, particularly a woman and a mother who just came to work, and that was her only intent,” Davis said at the news conference. 

Turner said she refrained from retaliating since she has a 2-year-old and a 7-year-old to feed. 

“It’s unfortunate on the day of the incident that the offender was not arrested immediately,” Davis said. “And I’m certain that, if the roles were reversed, that she would have been taken out in handcuffs. For us, this is a matter of both class and race.” 

Gwinnett County police responded to the scene but said the “parties involved in the dispute did not wish to pursue the case further,” Cpl. Wilbert Rundles told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Rumbles said Lee did not suffer any injuries during the assault. 

“The officers explained to each party how to request a warrant hearing from a judge, which is a common resolution and procedure in this type of case, if they changed their minds on the case,” Rumbles said. “Both parties were accepting of the officers’ handling of the call and the call was closed.” 

Davis said this was the first physical incident between his client and Lee, but said Turner has witnessed Lee assaulting other employees. Davis has encouraged other witnesses to come forward concerning Friday’s incident and any other alleged assaults. 

“We believe that this is a pattern and our intention is to stop that pattern,” he said. 

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution tried to contact Lee for comment Wednesday afternoon, but was unsuccessful.

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Stay away from dangerous sunscreen pills, FDA warns

Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 @ 10:53 PM

The FDA issued a warning about companies marketing dietary supplements as sunscreens. ‘There’s no pill or capsule that can replace your sunscreen,’ the agency said in a statement.
Morne de Klerk/Getty Images
The FDA issued a warning about companies marketing dietary supplements as sunscreens. ‘There’s no pill or capsule that can replace your sunscreen,’ the agency said in a statement.(Morne de Klerk/Getty Images)

The Food and Drug Administration issued warnings Tuesday addressing dietary supplements that claim to protect the public from sun damage.

>> Read more trending news 

“There’s no pill or capsule that can replace your sunscreen,” the agency wrote. “We’ve found products purporting to provide protection from the sun that aren’t delivering the advertised benefits. Instead they’re misleading consumers, and putting people at risk.”

The warning letters were aimed at four companies and accused them of “illegally marketing pills and capsules labeled as dietary supplements that make unproven drug claims about protecting consumers from the harms that come from sun exposure without meeting the FDA’s standards for safety and effectiveness.”

>> Related: Mom warns other parents after baby burned by sunscreen 

The FDA specifically called out the following products for putting people at risk:

The agency said the companies need to reverse any federal violations associated with their products.

A representative with Napa Valley Bioscience told Time in a statement that their product “is made with ingredients that published clinical studies show protect skin from damage,” and is useful for supplemental protection and for users with sensitive skin.

>> Related: How to pick the right sunscreen — and which ones to avoid 

“However, to be abundantly clear: the sun is dangerous, and UV rays damage your skin. We don’t market Sunsafe Rx as a sunscreen, and we certainly don’t tell consumers that they don’t need any other protection from the sun or that they don’t also need to use a topical sunscreen,” the company said. “Everyone should exercise caution when exposed to the sun.”

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, according to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And one in five Americans are at risk of developing the condition in their lifetime.

>> Related: 6 mistakes people commonly make when applying sunscreen 

The FDA is also researching the effectiveness of current sunscreens on the market as some research has purported some ingredients popular in conventional sunscreens may seep through the skin, though human harm due to this hasn’t been concluded.

The 14 Most Dangerous Sunscreens For Kids, According To Experts

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Scientists discover opioids in Seattle’s Puget Sound mussels

Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 @ 10:39 PM

Scientists have discovered mussels are contaminated with opioids in Puget Sound. “It’s telling me there's a lot of people taking oxycodone in the Puget Sound area,
Scientists have discovered mussels are contaminated with opioids in Puget Sound. “It’s telling me there's a lot of people taking oxycodone in the Puget Sound area," a biologist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said.(Pixabay)

The opioid epidemic has now made its way into marine life in Washington’s Puget Sound. Scientists who track pollution have for the first time, discovered traces of oxycodone in mussels.

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But scientists say those mussels don’t end up on your plate. 

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, or WDFW, gets clean mussels from Penn Cove on Whidby Island and puts them into areas they want to test for water contamination – like in urban waters.

And they’ve discovered there’s enough oxycodone in Elliot Bay for mussels to test positive. 

“What we eat and what we excrete goes into the Puget Sound,” said Jennifer Lanksbury, a biologist at the WDFW. 

Scientists deposit mussels in cages in 18 locations. They teamed up with the Puget Sound Institute to analyze the data and discovered that three locations were positive for trace amounts of oxycodone - two near Bremerton’s shipyard and Elliot Bay near Harbor Island.

“It’s telling me there's a lot of people taking oxycodone in the Puget Sound area. The contamination is likely coming from wastewater treatment plants,” Lanksbury said. 

>> Trending: Sunken treasure worth $17 billion on 300-year-old shipwreck discovered off Colombian coast

After people consume oxycodone, some of it ends up in the toilet, and it goes into wastewater. The water gets filtered, but King County Wastewater Management said although their system can catch a lot of contaminants, it can't specifically filter out drugs. 

>> Trending: Great Pacific Garbage Patch 16 times larger than estimates: 87,000 tons of plastic and growing

And opioids, antibiotics, drugs for depression - mussels are testing positive for all of it

“Those are definitely chemicals that are out there in the nearshore waters and they may be having an impact on the fish and shellfish that live there,” Lanksbury said.

Again, Lanksbury says people have nothing to worry about when it comes to eating mussels from a restaurant or shop because they come from clean locations.

“They’re clean and healthy and delicious. We love to eat mussels from the Puget Sound. We use them for our food and we use them for contaminant analysis,” Lanksbury said. 

But the study shows it’s another sign of what's ending up in the water and harming marine life. 

“People should be wary,” Lanksbury said. “Hopefully our data shows what’s out there and can get the process started for cleaning up our waters.” 

>> Trending: Your bottled water is probably contaminated with tiny plastic particles, health experts say

This was a one-time study for prescription drugs, but Fish and Wildlife officials will seek more funding to continue testing and tracking what happening to in the water over time. 

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George Zimmerman, unemployed, $2.5M in debt, gets public defender in latest legal battle

Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 @ 7:55 PM

George Zimmerman testified September 2016 about the man he said shot at him during an alleged road-rage incident in 2015. (Via WFTV.com)
George Zimmerman testified September 2016 about the man he said shot at him during an alleged road-rage incident in 2015. (Via WFTV.com)

A judge in Seminole County, Florida, has granted George Zimmerman a public defender to represent him in his latest legal battle.

>> Read more trending news

Zimmerman told the judge that he’s indigent, unemployed and has $2.5 million in debt and liabilities, according to court documents.

Zimmerman is facing a misdemeanor stalking charge that was filed by the Seminole County State Attorney’s Office earlier this month.

A sheriff's report said an investigator, Dennis Warren, contacted Zimmerman in September on behalf of Michael Gasparro, who is making a documentary on Trayvon Martin. The series is being produced by rapper Jay-Z.

Zimmerman allegedly told Gasparro, "Help Dennis out and give him a heads up. I'm going to find him. And I'm bringing hell with me."

He allegedly texted Gasparro and said, "Dennis is a (expletive) who bothered my uncle in his home. Local or former law officer, he's well on his way to the inside of a gator as well. 10-4?"

WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said the indigent applications are rarely scrutinized by the court because they are done under oath.

“As long as you can show your liabilities outweigh your assets, you are maybe entitled to a public defender and you are maybe entitled to the cost of defense,” Sheaffer said.

Zimmerman is scheduled to be in court May 30.

Zimmerman was acquitted in 2013 of the 2012 shooting death of Martin, an unarmed teenager. of unarmed teen, Trayvon Martin.

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