memory loss

  1. Organophosphate poisoning could cause memory loss

    Pesticides increase brain risk

    We all experience that mental pause from time to time, whether it's a name on the tip of your tongue or a simple calculation that you stumble over once or twice before getting it right.

    Sometimes, it's just an innocent mental flutter.

    But you'd be surprised by how often it's something else entirely -- and for many people, it could be the only outward symptom of a slow organophosphate poisoning.

    We're all exposed to a class of chemicals called organophosphates, widely used in pesticides and aircraft fuel, and even low levels of exposure can have a powerful and damaging effect on the brain.

    In one new analysis of data on 1,600 people who took part in 14 studies, researchers found very noticeable effects with regular exposure to low levels of organophosphates -- especially among people exposed in the line of work, such as pilots and farmers.

    The specific areas affected by rrganophosphate poisoning  included two of the most critical: memory and the ability to process information.

    In some cases, the people exposed could even identify specific situations in which these mental slowdowns harmed them -- like farmers losing the ability to respond quickly at sheep auctions, and airline workers who have a hard time remembering what air traffic control just told them.

    That's not just inconvenient -- that's downright dangerous, especially if that airline worker happens to be in the cockpit of an aircraft.

    But these days, you don't have to work on a farm or fly a plane to be exposed to organophosphate poisoning  and face those same risks. Live near an airport -- or a farm -- and you could already be getting more than your share.

    And no matter where you live, these chemicals could seep into the ground and contaminate the water table -- and they're not always removed in the water treatment process.

    That's why it's critical to eat organic foods that aren't coated in pesticides and use either reverse osmosis or a water distiller to filter chemicals and other toxins from your tap.

  2. Chewing gum can speed memory loss

    If you love chewing gum, I've got good news and bad news for you.

    The bad news is, gum can harm your memory. The good news is that you'll probably forget all about it soon enough.

    All kidding aside, a new study finds that gum can make it so that the things you learn -- or try to learn -- while chewing just won't stick.

    In a series of experiments, British researchers asked 40 students to try several memory puzzles while chewing and not chewing flavorless gum. In one, they were asked to remember a sequence of random letters. In another, they were shown a sequence and asked to figure out what was missing.

    Didn't matter. When they were chewing, they didn't do as well as they did when not chewing. It didn't even matter if the students chewed vigorously or naturally -- the results were consistently the same.

    By the way, the researchers did another experiment where the students were asked to tap their fingers instead of chew gum -- and found that finger-tapping also harmed memory.

    Seems like we're not as cut out for multitasking as we think we are.

    I wouldn't read too much into this study since it's the first to show that gum can hurt memory. In fact, other studies have shown that gum can actually improve it.

    The researchers say the difference might be in the flavor -- and that the flavors in gum might protect memory, while the lack of flavor harms it.

    Since the study didn't actually compare the two, there's no way to know that for sure. But since most people chew their gum long after the flavor expires, you might want to spit yours out before you try to memorize a phone number or shopping list.

  3. Feds finally own up to statin risks

    Well, maybe now the push to give everyone statins will start to slow a bit: The FDA has finally admitted that all those side effects the drug industry and its paid--for experts once brushed off are actually very real.
  4. Quick quiz can measure your Alzheimer's risk

    We waste a fortune on tests we don't need for conditions we don't have -- conditions we often shouldn't be worrying about in the first place.
  5. Statins on the ropes

    Researchers from the Cochrane Collaboration examined 14 trials involving more than 34,000 low-risk statin patients--influential studies used to push these drugs on millions--and found serious flaws in the research.

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