Weekend Wrap-up

Weekend Wrap-up

03.25.11 | By

I won't even try to compete with Kate's masterful Friday wrap-up piece. But, stepping in this afternoon because Kate is off somewhere "working" (a likely story) on something that has to be done today, here are a couple of things I saw in the media over the last couple of days that caught my eye and that I wanted to share.

Let's start with some good news: heavy smoking is on the decline. According to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the number of Americans who smoke a pack of cigeretts or more every day is dropping. The relationship between smoking and all kinds of bad health consequences - especially respiratory problems - is well established, so hopefully this decline will mean better heatlh and longer life for a growing share of former smokers.

Next, this item is one that isn't too shocking but, nonetheless, it should give us all pause. The Alzheimer's Association is reporting that the number of Alzheimer's disease caregivers in the U.S. is growing. New information, the first since 2000, indicates a 37 percent increase in caregivers from the earlier figures. There are nearly 15 million Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers in the U.S. to accommodate over five million Alzheimer's patients. Now, we talk about Alzheimer's disease a lot here and how projections are that there will be around 15 million sufferers costing more than $1 trillion a year by 2050. Needless to say, a large portion of that cost will go to the growing army of caregivers needed to help care for Alzheimer's patients. All of which underscores the urgent need for new research and development to find a useful treatment for the condition.

And, I'll wrap up with two interesting tidbits that I found. First, Its been known for sometime that certain people are physically unable to feel pain. A new test shows that those unable to feel pain also often have problems with their sense of smell.

Finally, there's a study that suggests that bees can become mentally young again with just a few alterations to their otherwise fixed routines. Now, putting aside the question of how do you know when a bee is old, those looking into the issue see the results as useful for new ways to help keep minds young and flexible and for fighting dementia.

Have a great weekend.

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