seizures

  1. Anticholinergic drugs linked to dementia in seniors

    Common drugs in new dementia link

    It's a mistake millions of people make each day: They assume a drug, like anticholinergic drugs  is safe simply because it's common or available over the counter.

    The reality, of course, is that nothing could be further from the truth.

    Common meds pack more risks than most people realize -- and new research confirms some of the most common drugs of all can speed you down the path toward cognitive decline and dementia.

    And in some cases, you can literally feel the brain-robbing effects in as little as two months.

    They are called anticholinergics drugs, and odds are you've taken them from time to time yourself. They're used for allergies, sleep disorders, stomach problems, nausea, motion sickness, depression, anxiety, bladder control, seizures, muscle spasms, and more.

    Some of them are household names -- like Tylenol PM, Zantac, Dramamine, and Benadryl, just to name a few. Others are less common -- but that doesn't mean that they pose any less potential dangers.

    In the new study of anticholinergic drugs  , researchers found that taking a single drug with strong anticholinergic effects for just 60 days could double your risk of cognitive decline. Weaker drugs have a weaker risk, but not by much: Taking two or more weaker anticholinergic drugs may boost the odds of cognitive decline by 50 percent over 90 days, according to the study of 3,690 seniors.

    The problem here is that many people who take anticholinergic drugs don't realize it. Plenty of them have never even heard the word or know what it means, much less understand the risks -- risks that along with cognitive decline include dementia and even death.

    Now that you know the risks, it's time to go through your own medicine chest and see if there are any of these drugs in your life right now. I don't have the space here to list every possible anticholinergic drug, but you can find several good resources online.

    One fairly thorough list can be found here. Since this list doesn't use brand names, make sure you're familiar with the generic names of your medications before you look them up (it should be right on the label). And if you find you're taking any prescription drugs with anticholinergic effects, contact your doctor and ask about your other options.

    If he won't help, find someone who will. I recommend an experienced holistic physician.

    And for more on the risks of taking anticholinergics, Health Revelations subscribers should be on the lookout for their July issue. If you're not already a subscriber, it's not too late. If you sign up now you will get access to my entire archive of back issues. Click here to learn more.

  2. Diet soda linked to heart risk

    Here's a commercial you won't see anytime soon:

    Diet soda – now with extra risk!

    No, that won't exactly get people slurping.

    But unlike the usual nonsense about extra flavor and taste, it would actually be honest – because a new study finds that people who drink diet soda regularly could find a heart attack or stroke at the bottom of their next bottle.

    Researchers tracked 2,564 New Yorkers for at least nine years, giving them regular surveys to check on their eating and drinking habits and regular exams.

    After adjusting for risk factors found in those exams and lifestyle factors such as smoking, they found that people who pop the top on a diet soda every day were 61 percent more likely to suffer from vascular events such as heart attack and stroke than those who didn't drink the stuff.

    And here's the part that might surprise you most: Even people who drank regular sugary soda didn't have that risk, according to the study presented at the International Stroke Conference.

    The natural implication here is that there's a specific ingredient only in diet soda that's causing all those extra heart attacks and strokes.

    Anyone else see where this is going?

    The answer is in the artificial sweeteners, the chemical replacements for sugar that are actually worse than the real thing – even if they don't carry the calories.

    Aspartame in particular – the sweetener used in most diet drinks – has been linked to headaches, insomnia, mood problems, stomach disorders, nerve damage, chest pain, asthma, seizures, tremors and so much more.

    And if the new study is true, you can tack heart attack and stroke onto that list.

    But in the ultimate cop-out, the researchers didn't mention sweeteners – or even come out and say it's time to stop drinking diet.

    Instead, they said this needs further study.

    Boooooooo!

    There's no reason to wait for more studies – because all the evidence points in the same direction: This junk is dangerous.

    And get this: Even the most basic promise of diet soda is a lie – because studies have found that it doesn't really help people lose weight or keep it off, and may even increase the odds of metabolic syndrome.

    The reality is, there is no good reason to drink soda, diet or otherwise. All sweeteners – real and fake – are bubbling over with the potential for serious health problems.

    But they're not the only dangerous ingredients in soda. They might not even be the most dangerous ingredients.

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