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  1. #1276

    Re: Let's Discuss Science

    And so it begins...
    Meet again we do, old foe...

  2. #1277

    Re: Let's Discuss Science

    The Startling Link Between Sugar and Alzheimer's
    A high-carb diet, and the attendant high blood sugar, are associated with cognitive decline.

    OLGA KHAZAN 5:00 AM ET

    In recent years, Alzheimer’s disease has occasionally been referred to as “type 3” diabetes, though that moniker doesn’t make much sense. After all, though they share a problem with insulin, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, and type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease caused by diet. Instead of another type of diabetes, it’s increasingly looking like Alzheimer’s is another potential side effect of a sugary, Western-style diet.

    In some cases, the path from sugar to Alzheimer’s leads through type 2 diabetes, but as a new study and others show, that’s not always the case.

    A longitudinal study, published Thursday in the journal Diabetologia, followed 5,189 people over 10 years and found that people with high blood sugar had a faster rate of cognitive decline than those with normal blood sugar—whether or not their blood-sugar level technically made them diabetic. In other words, the higher the blood sugar, the faster the cognitive decline.

    “Dementia is one of the most prevalent psychiatric conditions strongly associated with poor quality of later life,” said the lead author, Wuxiang Xie at Imperial College London, via email. “Currently, dementia is not curable, which makes it very important to study risk factors.”

    Melissa Schilling, a professor at New York University, performed her own review of studies connecting diabetes to Alzheimer’s in 2016. She sought to reconcile two confusing trends. People who have type 2 diabetes are about twice as likely to get Alzheimer’s, and people who have diabetes and are treated with insulin are also more likely to get Alzheimer’s, suggesting elevated insulin plays a role in Alzheimer’s. In fact, many studies have found that elevated insulin, or “hyperinsulinemia,” significantly increases your risk of Alzheimer’s. On the other hand, people with type 1 diabetes, who don’t make insulin at all, are also thought to have a higher risk of Alzheimer’s. How could these both be true?

    Schilling posits this happens because of the insulin-degrading enzyme, a product of insulin that breaks down both insulin and amyloid proteins in the brain—the same proteins that clump up and lead to Alzheimer’s disease. People who don’t have enough insulin, like those whose bodies’ ability to produce insulin has been tapped out by diabetes, aren’t going to make enough of this enzyme to break up those brain clumps. Meanwhile, in people who use insulin to treat their diabetes and end up with a surplus of insulin, most of this enzyme gets used up breaking that insulin down, leaving not enough enzyme to address those amyloid brain clumps.

    According to Schilling, this can happen even in people who don’t have diabetes yet—who are in a state known as “prediabetes.” It simply means your blood sugar is higher than normal, and it’s something that affects roughly 86 million Americans.

    Schilling is not primarily a medical researcher; she’s just interested in the topic. But Rosebud Roberts, a professor of epidemiology and neurology at the Mayo Clinic, agreed with her interpretation.

    In a 2012 study, Roberts broke nearly 1,000 people down into four groups based on how much of their diet came from carbohydrates. The group that ate the most carbs had an 80 percent higher chance of developing mild cognitive impairment—a pit stop on the way to dementia—than those who ate the smallest amount of carbs. People with mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, can dress and feed themselves, but they have trouble with more complex tasks. Intervening in MCI can help prevent dementia.

    Rebecca Gottesman, a professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins, cautions that the findings on carbs aren’t as well-established as those on diabetes. “It’s hard to be sure at this stage, what an ‘ideal’ diet would look like,” she said. “There’s a suggestion that a Mediterranean diet, for example, may be good for brain health.”

    But she says there are several theories out there to explain the connection between high blood sugar and dementia. Diabetes can also weaken the blood vessels, which increases the likelihood that you’ll have ministrokes in the brain, causing various forms of dementia. A high intake of simple sugars can make cells, including those in the brain, insulin resistant, which could cause the brain cells to die. Meanwhile, eating too much in general can cause obesity. The extra fat in obese people releases cytokines, or inflammatory proteins that can also contribute to cognitive deterioration, Roberts said. In one study by Gottesman, obesity doubled a person’s risk of having elevated amyloid proteins in their brains later in life.

    Roberts said that people with type 1 diabetes are mainly only at risk if their insulin is so poorly controlled that they have hypoglycemic episodes. But even people who don’t have any kind of diabetes should watch their sugar intake, she said.

    “Just because you don’t have type 2 diabetes doesn’t mean you can eat whatever carbs you want,” she said. “Especially if you’re not active.” What we eat, she added, is “a big factor in maintaining control of our destiny.” Roberts said this new study by Xie is interesting because it also shows an association between prediabetes and cognitive decline.

    That’s an important point that often gets forgotten in discussions of Alzheimer’s. It’s such a horrible disease that it can be tempting to dismiss it as inevitable. And, of course, there are genetic and other, non-nutritional factors that contribute to its progression. But, as these and other researchers point out, decisions we make about food are one risk factor we can control. And it’s starting to look like decisions we make while we’re still relatively young can affect our future cognitive health.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/health/a...eimers/551528/
    Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth (paraphrased)


  3. #1278

    Re: Let's Discuss Science

    After Surgery in Germany, I Wanted Vicodin, Not Herbal Tea
    By FIROOZEH DUMAS JAN. 27, 2018

    MUNICH — I recently had a hysterectomy here in Munich, where we moved from California four years ago for my husband’s job. Even though his job ended a year ago, we decided to stay while he tries to start a business. Thanks to the German health care system, our insurance remained in force. This, however, is not a story about the benefits of universal health care.

    Thanks to modern medicine, my hysterectomy was performed laparoscopically, without an overnight hospital stay. My only concern about this early release was pain management. The fibroids that necessitated the surgery were particularly large and painful, and the procedure would be more complicated.

    I brought up the subject of painkillers with my gynecologist weeks before my surgery. She said that I would be given ibuprofen. “Is that it?” I asked. “That’s what I take if I have a headache. The removal of an organ certainly deserves more.”

    “That’s all you will need,” she said, with the body confidence that comes from a lifetime of skiing in crisp, Alpine air.

    I decided to pursue the topic with the surgeon.

    He said the same thing. He was sure that the removal of my uterus would not require narcotics afterward. I didn’t want him to think I was a drug addict, but I wanted a prescription for something that would knock me out for the first few nights, and maybe half the day.

    Continue reading the main story
    With mounting panic, I decided to speak to the anesthesiologist, my last resort.

    This time, I used a different tactic. I told him how appalled I had been when my teenager was given 30 Vicodin pills after she had her wisdom teeth removed in the United States. “I am not looking for that,” I said, “but I am concerned about pain management. I won’t be able to sleep. I know I can have ibuprofen, but can I have two or three pills with codeine for the first few nights? Let me remind you that I am getting an entire organ removed.”

    The anesthesiologist explained that during surgery and recovery I would be given strong painkillers, but once I got home the pain would not require narcotics. To paraphrase him, he said: “Pain is a part of life. We cannot eliminate it nor do we want to. The pain will guide you. You will know when to rest more; you will know when you are healing. If I give you Vicodin, you will no longer feel the pain, yes, but you will no longer know what your body is telling you. You might overexert yourself because you are no longer feeling the pain signals. All you need is rest. And please be careful with ibuprofen. It’s not good for your kidneys. Only take it if you must. Your body will heal itself with rest.”

    I didn’t mention that I use ibuprofen like candy. Why else do they come in such jumbo sizes at American warehouse stores? Instead, I thought about his poetic explanation of pain as my guide, although his mention of “just resting” was disturbing. What exactly is resting?

    I know how to sleep but resting is an in-between space I do not inhabit. It’s like an ambiguous place that can be reached only by walking into a magic closet and emerging on the other side to find a dense forest and a talking lion, a lion who can guide me toward the owl who supplies the forest with pain pills.

    “I do have another question,” I said. “Stool softeners — certainly, you prescribe those? That’s pretty standard with anesthesia throughout the modern world, I believe.”

    “You won’t need those,” he answered in his calm voice. “Your body will function just fine. Just give it a day or two. Drink a cup of coffee, slowly. And whatever you do, do not get it in a to-go cup. You must sit in one place and enjoy this cup, slowly.”

    His gentle suggestion to trust my body almost brought me to tears. It reminded me of the poster in my doctor’s waiting room, the one informing us that herbal tea is the first remedy to try when we have a cold. The first remedy I try is the decongestants I bring with me from the United States. I can’t find those in Germany, nor can I find the children’s cough medicine that makes my child drowsy. I also import that.

    Come to think of it, I bring a lot of medicine with me from the United States, all over the counter, all intended to take away discomfort. The German doctors were telling me that being uncomfortable is O.K.

    My first night home after surgery, I didn’t sleep well because of the pain from the carbon dioxide pumped into my body for the laparoscopy. Had I had something to knock me out, I would have taken it.

    In the morning, my husband propped me up in bed and brought me a pot of tea. I was tired and uncomfortable, and I was bored. An entire day lay ahead of me. I was dreading it.

    I took two ibuprofens that first day. In hindsight, I didn’t need them, but I felt like I should take something. What I really needed was patience pills, and a few distractions. The hardest part of my recovery was lingering in bed, or on the sofa, feeling the discomfort and boredom as time ticked by slowly. I didn’t feel like reading or doing much of anything. I watched a few movies and many episodes of “Antiques Roadshow.”

    Every day, my body felt a little better. I drank mint tea. I drank fennel tea. I drank homemade chai with ginger, cardamom and pepper. I drank coffee slowly, enjoying every sip. I lingered in that in-between space.

    After a week, I took the tram to the doctor’s office to have my stitches removed. My doctor, with her usual cup of chamomile tea in hand, remarked on my progress. “I rested,” I told her. Normally, I would have said, “I did nothing,” but I didn’t say that. I had been healing, and that’s something.

    I did say that this story is not about the benefits of universal health care, but for the sake of accuracy, let me add that this hysterectomy was not without cost. After my surgery, I had to pay $25 for the taxi ride home.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/27/o...nion&smtyp=cur
    Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth (paraphrased)


  4. #1279
    Everyday Warrior MJ2004's Avatar
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    Re: Let's Discuss Science

    My mom had a hysterectomy this year and she had the opposite experience here in the U.S. Her doctor wanted to prescribe something stronger for her, but she refused them and didn't take anything more than ibuprofen/acetaminophen.They also pushed the stool softeners. She took one and it was way too strong for her. She didn't need it.

  5. #1280

    Re: Let's Discuss Science

    Exclusive: Laser Scans Reveal Maya "Megalopolis" Below Guatemalan Jungle
    A vast, interconnected network of ancient cities was home to millions more people than previously thought.




    Laser technology known as LiDAR digitally removes the forest canopy to reveal ancient ruins below, showing that Maya cities such as Tikal were much larger than ground-based research had suggested.
    COURTESY WILD BLUE MEDIA/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

    By Tom Clynes
    PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 1, 2018

    In what’s being hailed as a “major breakthrough” in Maya archaeology, researchers have identified the ruins of more than 60,000 houses, palaces, elevated highways, and other human-made features that have been hidden for centuries under the jungles of northern Guatemala.

    Using a revolutionary technology known as LiDAR (short for “Light Detection And Ranging”), scholars digitally removed the tree canopy from aerial images of the now-unpopulated landscape, revealing the ruins of a sprawling pre-Columbian civilization that was far more complex and interconnected than most Maya specialists had supposed.

    “The LiDAR images make it clear that this entire region was a settlement system whose scale and population density had been grossly underestimated,” said Thomas Garrison, an Ithaca College archaeologist and National Geographic Explorer who specializes in using digital technology for archaeological research.

    Garrison is part of a consortium of researchers who are participating in the project, which was spearheaded by the PACUNAM Foundation, a Guatemalan nonprofit that fosters scientific research, sustainable development, and cultural heritage preservation.

    The project mapped more than 800 square miles (2,100 square kilometers) of the Maya Biosphere Reserve in the Petén region of Guatemala, producing the largest LiDAR data set ever obtained for archaeological research.

    The results suggest that Central America supported an advanced civilization that was, at its peak some 1,200 years ago, more comparable to sophisticated cultures such as ancient Greece or China than to the scattered and sparsely populated city states that ground-based research had long suggested.

    In addition to hundreds of previously unknown structures, the LiDAR images show raised highways connecting urban centers and quarries. Complex irrigation and terracing systems supported intensive agriculture capable of feeding masses of workers who dramatically reshaped the landscape.

    The ancient Maya never used the wheel or beasts of burden, yet “this was a civilization that was literally moving mountains,” said Marcello Canuto, a Tulane University archaeologist and National Geographic Explorer who participated in the project.

    “We’ve had this western conceit that complex civilizations can’t flourish in the tropics, that the tropics are where civilizations go to die,” said Canuto, who conducts archaeological research at a Guatemalan site known as La Corona. “But with the new LiDAR-based evidence from Central America and [Cambodia’s] Angkor Wat, we now have to consider that complex societies may have formed in the tropics and made their way outward from there.”

    SURPRISING INSIGHTS

    “LiDAR is revolutionizing archaeology the way the Hubble Space Telescope revolutionized astronomy,” said Francisco Estrada-Belli, a Tulane University archaeologist and National Geographic Explorer. “We’ll need 100 years to go through all [the data] and really understand what we’re seeing.”


    The unaided eye sees only jungle and an overgrown mound, but LiDAR and augmented reality software reveal an ancient Maya pyramid.
    COURTESY WILD BLUE MEDIA/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC


    Already, though, the survey has yielded surprising insights into settlement patterns, inter-urban connectivity, and militarization in the Maya Lowlands. At its peak in the Maya classic period (approximately A.D. 250–900), the civilization covered an area about twice the size of medieval England, but it was far more densely populated.

    “Most people had been comfortable with population estimates of around 5 million,” said Estrada-Belli, who directs a multi-disciplinary archaeological project at Holmul, Guatemala. “With this new data it’s no longer unreasonable to think that there were 10 to 15 million people there—including many living in low-lying, swampy areas that many of us had thought uninhabitable.”

    (...)

    Among the most surprising findings was the ubiquity of defensive walls, ramparts, terraces, and fortresses. “Warfare wasn’t only happening toward the end of the civilization,” said Garrison. “It was large-scale and systematic, and it endured over many years.”

    The survey also revealed thousands of pits dug by modern-day looters. “Many of these new sites are only new to us; they are not new to looters,” said Marianne Hernandez, president of the PACUNAM Foundation. (Read "Losing Maya Heritage to Looters.")

    https://news.nationalgeographic.com/...&sf181018023=1
    Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth (paraphrased)


  6. #1281

    Re: Let's Discuss Science

    Falcon Heavy, in a Roar of Thunder, Carries SpaceX’s Ambition Into Orbit

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/06/s...ex-launch.html

  7. #1282

    Re: Let's Discuss Science

    Don't get me wrong, it's extremely impressive obviously and it is exciting, and I get it. But I'm waiting on that bullet train Elon, I don't care about taking people to Mars to build a colony or whatever this is about. I want the darn train, you know, something we might actually use in this lifetime. YMMV

  8. #1283

    Re: Let's Discuss Science

    That train will not happen. The rocket is very impressive, though. 10x cheaper than NASA apparently...
    Roger forever

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