Category Archives: Health

Cognition & Brain Studies: Apathy, Not Depression, Associated With Dementia

‘Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry” (July 10, 2020):

jnnp-2020-July-91-7-677-F1.mediumWe tested the hypothesis that apathy, but not depression, is associated with dementia in patients with SVD. We found that higher baseline apathy, as well as increasing apathy over time, were associated with an increased dementia risk. In contrast, neither baseline depression or change in depression was associated with dementia. The relationship between apathy and dementia remained after controlling for other well-established risk factors including age, education and cognition. Finally, adding apathy to models predicting dementia improved model fit. These results suggest that apathy may be a prodromal symptom of dementia in patients with SVD.

Cerebral small vessel disease (SVD) is the leading vascular cause of dementia and plays a major role in cognitive decline and mortality.1 2 SVD affects the small vessels of the brain, leading to damage in the subcortical grey and white matter.1 The resulting clinical presentation includes cognitive and neuropsychiatric symptoms.1

Apathy is a reduction in goal-directed behaviour, which is a common neuropsychiatric symptom in SVD.3 Importantly, apathy is dissociable from depression,3 4 another symptom in SVD for which low mood is a predominant manifestation.5 Although there is some symptomatic overlap between the two,6 research using diffusion imaging reported that apathy, but not depression, was associated with white matter network damage in SVD.3 Many of the white matter pathways underlying apathy overlap with those related to cognitive impairment, and accordingly apathy, rather than depression, has been associated with cognitive deficits in SVD.7 These results suggest that apathy and cognitive impairment are symptomatic of prodromal dementia in SVD.

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Top Science Podcasts: “What We Know About Antibodies & Covid-19”

With antibodies having implications for both our understanding of previous coronavirus infections and potential future immunity, Nicola Davis talks to Prof Eleanor Riley about how best to test for them and asks whether antibodies are the only thing we should be looking for.

Health & Nature Books: “The Well-Gardened Mind” By Sue Stuart-Smith (2020)

 ‘The Well-Gardened Mind’ provides a new perspective on the power of gardening to change people’s lives. Here, Sue Stuart-Smith investigates the many ways in which mind and garden can interact and explores how the process of tending a plot can be a way of sustaining an innermost self.

A distinguished psychiatrist and avid gardener offers an inspiring and consoling work about the healing effects of gardening and its ability to decrease stress and foster mental well-being in our everyday lives.

The garden is often seen as a refuge, a place to forget worldly cares, removed from the “real” life that lies outside. But when we get our hands in the earth we connect with the cycle of life in nature through which destruction and decay are followed by regrowth and renewal. Gardening is one of the quintessential nurturing activities and yet we understand so little about it.

Stuart-Smith’s own love of gardening developed as she studied to become a psychoanalytic psychotherapist. From her grandfather’s return from World War I to Freud’s obsession with flowers to case histories with her own patients to progressive gardening programs in such places as Rikers Island prison in New York City, Stuart-Smith weaves thoughtful yet powerful examples to argue that gardening is much more important to our cognition than we think. Recent research is showing how green nature has direct antidepressant effects on humans. Essential and pragmatic, The Well-Gardened Mind is a book for gardeners and the perfect read for people seeking healthier mental lives.

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Morning News Podcast: Covid-19 Surges, Roger Stone & Alternative Meat

Axios TodayCoronavirus cases are on the rise in 33 states — and California and Florida hit record high numbers of daily cases last week. Now, hospitals and other medical facilities are feeling déjà vu, as they start to experience personal protective equipment shortages again.

  • Plus, Roger Stone talks to Axios’ Mike Allen 48 hours after President Trump commuted his sentence.
  • And, the massive rise of alternative meat sales means a fundamental change for the American diet.

Guests: Axios’ Bob Herman, Mike Allen and Bryan Walsh.

Health Infographics: How “Strong HVAC Airflows Spread Covid-19 Indoors”

From McKinsey & Company (July 9, 2020):

McKinsey & Company logoThe World Health Organization recently acknowledged that some evidence about in-room transmission is worrisome. In addition, after analyzing a transmission event at a restaurant in China, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concluded that an asymptomatic patient transmitted the virus to families at two nearby tables.

Strong Airflows Spread Coronavirus Droplets Within a Restaurant - McKinsey July 2020

Based on the restaurant layout, seating arrangements, and smear samples from air-conditioning inlets and outlets, the CDC found that the coronavirus was likely transmitted when strong airflows from a nearby air conditioner spread large droplets from the infected person. These droplets traveled more than one meter—further than usual, but less than the distance aerosols can typically travel.

Solutions to Help Prevent Airborne Spread of Viruses between Rooms - McKinsey & Company July 2020

Three Different Common Methods to Purify Contaminated Air - Filtration, Irradiation and Thermal - McKinsey July 2020

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Political News: “Brooks & Capehart” On Covid-19 Response (PBS Video)

New York Times columnist David Brooks and Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart join Judy Woodruff to discuss the latest political news, including how the surging coronavirus is affecting President Trump’s public support, the significance of the Supreme Court’s recent rulings and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s economic policy recommendations.

Health Podcasts: Massive Coronavirus Outbreak At San Quentin Prison

Nature PodcastNature discusses the massive coronavirus outbreak that struck the iconic Californian prison after it rejected expert aid.

In this episode:

01:47 Disaster in San Quentin

San Quentin prison is facing a massive outbreak, we dig into how they got there. The crisis has arisen despite warnings from experts, and offers of free tests, which were declined. We ask why? And what can be done now?

News: California’s San Quentin prison declined free coronavirus tests and urgent advice — now it has a massive outbreak

29:51 One good thing

For the last episode of Coronapod, our hosts pick out ways that the pandemic has changed them for the better, including professional flexibility, a renewed focus on the power of reporting and time with family

36:07 Lockdown and children’s health

Reporter Stewart asks if lockdowns could have any lasting impact on her young children – what evidence is there on the effect of isolation on young minds?

Survey: Co-Space Study: Supporting Parents, Adolescents and Children during Epidemics

Health & Consumers: “How Coronavirus Is Changing Grocery Shopping” (WSJ)

 

Will the coronavirus pandemic lead to long-term changes in how we shop for food? To better understand the challenges facing grocery stores, WSJ’s Alexander Hotz spoke with an industry insider, a store owner and a Walmart executive.