Archive for September, 2012


US woman grows new ear on arm
Alys Francis, ninemsn
Sherrie Walter grew a new ear on her arm.
Sherrie Walter grew a new ear on her arm.

US doctors have grown a new ear for a woman on her arm after she lost her original ear during a battle with skin cancer.

Sherrie Walter had to have most of her left ear removed, along with parts of her skull and ear canal, in 2010 after she was diagnosed with a basal cell carcinoma, The Baltimore Sun reports.

The 42-year-old mother-of-two, from California, was left disfigured until doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland told her about a groundbreaking new procedure that would enable her to grow a new ear.

The ear was made using cartilage from Ms Walter’s ribs and arteries and from other parts of her body — the structure was then placed under the skin on her arm for four months to grow before it was transferred to her head.

Doctors said the entire process took close to 20 months and it is believed to be the most complicated ear reconstruction completed in North America.

Surgeons performed Ms Walter’s final major surgery last week, fashioning an earlobe and shaping the ear to look more natural.

Speaking before the operation, Ms Walter said: “I am one step closer to the end, to looking normal again.”

Ms Walter first noticed her skin cancer in 2008 when a scab on her ear would not heal.

After drastic surgery to remove the cancer and weeks of radiation, Ms Walter said she became self-conscious of her appearance and grew her hair long to try and hide her face.

She could not wear a clip-on prosthetic ear because parts of her skull had also been removed.

But Dr Patrick Byrne, who led Ms Walter’s surgical team, assured her there were other options and suggested she try the procedure to grow a new ear.

“It seemed a little strange but I was willing to try it,” she said.

Dr Byrne said the new ear should last for years to come.

US scientists are helping pioneer efforts to grow ears, bones and skin in laboratories, with doctors planning to use cutting-edge reconstructive techniques for wounded troops.

Sources: The Baltimore Sun
Author: Alys Francis. Approving editor: Emily O’Keefe


Study Indicates That Herpes Frequently Sheds And Can Be Transmitted Even When Mohel Is Shows No Symptoms Of The Virus

Bris Milah Circumcision Metzitzah B'peh closeup

“At least 70% of the population shed HSV-1 asymptomatically at least once a month, and many individuals appear to shed HSV-1 more than six times a month. Shedding HSV-1 is present at many intraoral sites, for brief periods, at copy numbers sufficient to be transmitted, and even in seronegative individuals.”

Bris Milah Circumcision Metzitzah B'peh closeup
Metzitzah b’peh done in Israel, where it some Zionist Orthodox and Modern Orthodox mohels do the controversial oral sucking procedure, despite its risks to the baby.

Just in case your haredi rabbi says there is no evidence that herpes can be transmitted by metzitzah b’peh (MBP) – the direct oral-to-genital sucking done by many haredi mohels to the baby’s bleeding penis after removing its foreskin – even though babies have died and been maimed by herpes infections transmitted through MBP, or if he says that a mohel who has no outward signs of herpes can safely do MBP, you can cite this study, which shows both claims of your rabbi to be false:

Abstract: Asymptomatic Shedding of Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) in the Oral Cavity
Howard E. Strassler, DMD

Jan. 27, 2009
Inside Dentistry

Miller CS, Danaher RT. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 2008;105(1):43-50.

Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the rate of herpes simplex virus (HSV) shedding from the oral cavity, because recent studies suggest that shedding is more frequent than originally reported. Factors that could influence the rate and duration of shedding from the oral cavity were examined.

Methods: Existing epidemiologic data from 22 reports of HSV shedding from more than 3,500 individuals were analyzed with regard to demographics, frequency of sampling, and methodologic assays.

Results: HSV-1 was more likely to be detected than HSV-2 in the oral cavity of asymptomatic persons (7.5 odds ratio, 95% confidence interval 4.4–12.8; P < .0001). The rate of shedding was highly variable among individuals, ranging from none to 92% of the days tested, and occurred in seropositive and seronegative individuals. In cell culture studies, the rate of detection on a single day was 6.3%. Polymerase chain reaction studies provided a different picture. HSV-1 DNA was present in 97 of 180 patients (53.9%) at multiple visits, with a rate of daily detection of 33.3%. The mean duration of shedding was between 1 and 3 days, but more than 3 days in about 10% of the patients.

Conclusion: At least 70% of the population shed HSV-1 asymptomatically at least once a month, and many individuals appear to shed HSV-1 more than six times a month. Shedding HSV-1 is present at many intraoral sites, for brief periods, at copy numbers sufficient to be transmitted, and even in seronegative individuals. The dental implications of these findings are discussed.

Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is a significant human pathogen infecting most individuals early in life, predominantly at mucosal surfaces after exposure to infected secretions. It has been implicated in a range of diseases including labials and stomatitis, blinding keratitis, and, rarely, encephalitis. According to the data, more than 70% of adults have neutralizing antibodies and serve as reservoirs of the virus. The authors have done an excellent systematic review of the rate of shedding of HSV from the oral cavity. Asymptomatic shedding is generally defined as the presence of HSV in the absence of clinical lesions. Based on this review, the frequency of HSV shedding at virus numbers sufficient to be transmitted are significantly higher than most clinicians would suspect. These high frequencies of asymptomatic shedding suggest that HSV-1 is not as dormant during latency as previously believed. This translates to the fact that even without clinical lesions, the dentist, dental hygienist, and chairside assistant are at risk. This data emphasize the importance of being diligent in maintaining proper infection control procedures (eye protection, gloves, mask) when performing routine dental examinations and procedures. All efforts should be taken to minimize splashes and splatters of oral fluids even in the absence of HSV oral lesions. Also, medical conditions, eg, immunosuppression and traumatic oral surgical procedures, increase the likelihood of virus shedding in the oral cavity.

Howard E. Strassler, DMD
Professor and Director of Operative Dentistry
Department of Endodontics, Prosthodontics and Operative Dentistry
University of Maryland Dental School
Baltimore, Maryland

Baby Dies of Herpes in Ritual Circumcision By Orthodox Jews

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/baby-dies-herpes-virus-ritual-circumcision-nyc-orthodox/story?id=15888618

Baby’s Death Renews Debate Over a Circumcision Ritual

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/08/nyregion/infants-death-renews-debate-over-a-circumcision-ritual.html

How 11 New York City Babies Contracted Herpes Through Circumcision

http://healthland.time.com/2012/06/07/how-11-new-york-city-babies-contracted-herpes-through-circumcision/

Neonatal Herpes Simplex Virus Infection Following Jewish Ritual Circumcisions that Included Direct Orogenital Suction — New York City, 2000–2011

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6122a2.htm

NYC Puts at Least One Restriction on Mohels Sucking Freshly Circumcised Baby Penises

http://gawker.com/5947500/nyc-getting-closer-to-banning-adults-from-sucking-freshly-circumcised-baby-penises

Banned Herpes Mohel Still Circumcising Babies

http://gothamist.com/2012/03/14/authorities_investigating_herpes_mo.php

Circumcision’s Deadly Fault Line: Rationality vs. the Metzitzah B’Peh

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/06/10/circumcision-s-deadly-fault-line-rationality-vs-the-metzitzah-b-peh.html

 

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How The Right’s Latest Conspiracy Theory Might Unleash a Wave of Domestic Terrorism if Obama Wins
Some types of spin are more dangerous than others.
September 25, 2012  |

Two of the Fort Stewart soldiers charged with murder and conspiracy to assassinate Obama.

In a somewhat desperate attempt to maintain morale among a Republican base that disdains its standard-bearer, a number of conservative media outlets are pushing an alternate reality in which Mitt Romney is leading in the polls by wide margins and American voters have a decidedly negative view not of the challenger, but of Barack Obama.

It’s an exceptionally dangerous game that the right-wing media are playing. If Obama wins – and according to polling guru Nate Silver, he’d have a 95 percent chance of doing so if the vote were held today – there’s a very real danger that this spin — combined with other campaign narratives that are popular among the far-right — could create a post-election environment so toxic that it yields an outburst of politically motivated violence.

A strategy that began with a series of rather silly columns comparing 2012 with 1980, and assuring jittery conservatives that a huge mass of independents was sure to break for Romney late and deliver Obama the crushing defeat he so richly deserves, entered new territory with the bizarre belief that all the polls are wrong. And not only wrong, but intentionally rigged by “biased pollsters” – including those at Fox News – in the tank for Obama. (See Alex Pareene’s piece for more on the right’s new theory that the polls are being systematically “skewed.”)

Consider how a loosely-hinged member of the right-wing fringe – an unstable individual among the third of conservative Republicans who believe Obama’s a Muslim or the almost two-thirds who think he was born in another country – expecting a landslide victory for the Republican might process an Obama victory. This is a group that has also been told, again and again, that Democrats engage in widespread voter fraud – that there are legions of undocumented immigrants, dead people and ineligible felons voting in this election (with the help of zombie ACORN). They’ve been told that Democrats are buying the election with promises of “free stuff” offered to the slothful and unproductive half of the population that pays no federal income taxes and refuses to “take responsibility for their lives” – Romney’s 47 percent.

They’ve also been told – by everyone from NRA president Wayne LaPierre to Mitt Romney himself – that Obama plans to ban gun ownership in his second term. (Two elaborate conspiracy theories have blossomed around this point. One holds that Fast and Furious – which, in reality, is much ado about very little – was designed to elevate gun violence to a point where seizing Americans’ firearms would become politically popular. The second holds that a United Nations treaty on small arms transfers (from which the United States has withdrawn) is in fact a stealthy workaround for the Second Amendment.)

And they’ve been warned in grim, often apocalyptic terms of what’s to come in a second term. The film, “2016: Obama’s America,” offers a dystopian vision of a third-world America gutted by Obama’s supposed obsession with global wealth redistribution. His re-election would bring something far worse than mere socialism – it would be marked by Kenyan anti-colonialism, in which America’s wealth is bled off as a form of reparations for centuries of inequities between the global North and South.

These kinds of fringe views aren’t relegated to the fever swamps of the right-wing blogosphere – they’re often reinforced by elected Republicans. Reps Steve King, R-Iowa, Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, Louie Gohmert, R-Texas and others warn that the Obama administration has been infiltrated by Islamic Extremists. An elected judge in Texas advocated a tax increase – yes, a tax increase! – in order to better arm local sheriff’s deputies whom he claimed would serve on the front-lines of the civil war likely to come should Obama be re-elected. “I’m talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms, get rid of the dictator,” he said.

They’ve been hammered with the idea that while these facts are obvious for those whose eyes are open, the media is covering it all up. Rather than a Democrat with whom people tend to connect running a good campaign against a flawed Republican candidate, many on the far-right will see an illegitimate president colluding with an array of perfidious forces, both foreign and domestic, to deny them the right to finally ‘take their country back.’

Obviously, there’s no need to fear a massive rebellion from millions of engraged Glenn Beck fans in their Hoverounds; rather, the danger is that in the aftermath of such an election, a small number of dangerously unstable anti-government extremists will take matters into their own hands — and even a small number can do significant damage.

After the 2008 election, there was a run on weapons and ammunition, and gun sellers are expecting another bonanza if Obama wins a second term. We’ve seen a dramatic wave of right-wing domestic terrorism since Barack Obama’s election. Recently, four active-duty soldiers – and five others – based at Fort Stewart, Georgia, were arrested after murdering two compatriots they suspected of betraying their plot to assassinate Obama. The group had been “stockpiling weapons and bomb parts to overthrow the U.S. government.” With $87,000 in weapons and explosives — and combat training courtesy of Uncle Sam — this was a potentially devastating plot. Just think about the havoc that a few heavily-armed men with military discipline were able to wreak in Mumbai in 2008.

It’s a real threat, but political correctness keeps it in the shadows. At a senate hearing last week, a former Department of Homeland Security official named Daryl Johnson testified that “the threat of domestic terrorism motivated by extremist ideologies is often dismissed and overlooked in the national media and within the U.S. government.” He continued:

Yet we are currently seeing an upsurge in domestic non-Islamic extremist activity, specifically from violent right-wing extremists. While violent left-wing attacks were more prevalent in the 1970s, today the bulk of violent domestic activity emanates from the right wing…. Since the 2008 presidential election, domestic non-Islamic extremists have shot 27 law enforcement officers, killing 16 of them.

That the “unskewed” polls show Romney heading towards a blow-out win is likely to lead more disturbed people to see themselves as victims of a dark plot to undermine America’s “traditional values.” It’s not the only iteration of the alternate universe that the right has conjured up in recent years – just ponder, for a moment, that the creator of “Conservapedia” – a hilariously inaccurate right-wing version of Wikipedia – has undertaken to write a distinctly conservative version of the Bible (one in which Jesus presumably inveighs against taxes and regulation dragging down job creators, and doesn’t constantly blather about the poor).

But while those efforts are often laughable, the unintended consequences of offering the hard-right a Bizarro World analysis of the 2012 election may prove deadly serious if Obama pulls out a win.

Joshua Holland is an editor and senior writer at AlterNet. He’s the author of The 15 Biggest Lies About the Economy. Drop him an email or follow him on Twitter.


Eastern Germany: the most godless place on Earth

East German atheism can be seen as a form of continuing political and regional identification – and a taste of the future

Germany Celebrates 20 Years Fall Of The Berlin Wall

A woman dressed as an angel waves from a roof top near the German Reichstag on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Photograph: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

They are sending missionaries to eastern Germany. A recent study called Beliefs About God Across Time and Countries found that 52.1% of people asked whether they believed in God identified themselves as atheists. This compared with only 10.3% in western Germany. Indeed, the survey was unable to find a single person under the age of 28 in eastern Germany who believed in God. Obviously there are some – I think I may have even met some once – but the survey was unable to find them. On the face of it this is an extraordinary finding and it is something that needs some careful explanation.

Different reasons are adduced for the absence of religion in the east. The first one that is usually brought out is the fact that that area was run by the Communist party from 1945 to 1990 and that its explicit hostility to religion meant that it was largely stamped out. However, this is not entirely the case. In fact, after initial hostilities in the first years of the GDR, the SED came to a relatively comfortable accommodation with what was called the Church in Socialism. The churches in the GDR were given a high degree of autonomy by SED standards and indeed became the organisational focus of the dissident movement of the 1990s, which was to some extent led by Protestant pastors.

In addition to an accommodation with religion, the party also deliberately created alternative poles of integration for the population. Young people were brought up in a highly ideological atmosphere and were required to undergo a so-called Jugendweihe – a sort of atheist confirmation. Interestingly, this ceremony has survived the end of communism and many young people still voluntarily enter into it. Equally, especially under Eric Honecker in the 1970s and 80s, an attempt was made to create a sort of “GDR patriotism”, in which figures from Prussian history such as Frederick the Great were put back on their plinths in East Berlin and integrated into the Communist narrative of the forward march of history. Martin Luther, Thomas Münzer and other figures from the Reformation were also recruited into the party.

Another factor is that religion in eastern Germany is also overwhelmingly Protestant, both historically and in contemporary terms. Of the 25% who do identify themselves as religious, 21% of them are Protestants. The other 4% is made up of a small number of Catholics as well as Muslims and adherents of other new evangelical groups, new-age sects or alternative religions. The Protestant church is in steep decline with twice as many people leaving it every year as joining.

If we were to follow the Weberian line on this, then a highly Protestant area undergoing rapid modernisation would almost automatically experience a process of radical secularisation going hand-in-hand with industrialisation, a process which was only speeded up by the communist obsession with heavy industry.

When we look at western Germany however, we see that there Catholics are in a majority and indeed, political power in West Germany has traditionally been built on western-orientated Catholic support for the Christian Democratic Union in the south and west. Indeed, the first chancellor of postwar West Germany, Konrad Adenauer, had been mayor of Cologne in the 1930s and even then was in favour of the division of Germany and a “Rhineland Alliance” as a sort of precursor of the European Union.

What all of this means is that rather than simply just being an area that was occupied by the Soviet Union and their satraps in the East German Communist party, the eastern part of Germany has an identity which – almost a quarter of a century on – continues to make unification more difficult than expected. Religious confession, or rather the lack of it, plays an important role in this. This has led some to talk of East German atheism as a form of continuing political and regional identification. For example, in 2000 the Catholic theologian Eberhard Tiefensee identified what he called an “East German folk atheism” which could be argued to constitute a substantial part of a regional identity against West German Catholic domination.

Secularisation processes are under way throughout the continent and the role of religion and the church in modernity are being questioned everywhere, from gay marriage to women priests to abortion and on to whether the EU should identify itself as a Christian entity. The question should perhaps be whether it is actually folk atheism that represents the future of Europe.


The next wave in robotic war: autonomous drones

by Dan De Luce

Agençe France-Presse

U.S. military helicopter

Piloted U.S. military aircraft may soon be a thing of the past as technology for autonomous drones improves.

Credit: iStockphoto

WASHINGTON: The U.S. military’s current fleet of drones will soon be overtaken by a new wave of robots that will be faster, stealthier and smarter – operating virtually without human intervention, experts say.

The Pentagon is investing heavily in ‘autonomy’ for robotic weapons, with researchers anticipating squadrons of drones in the air, land or sea that would work in tandem with manned machines – often with a minimum of supervision.

“Before they were blind, deaf and dumb. Now we’re beginning to make them to see, hear and sense,” Mark Maybury, chief scientist for the U.S. Air Force, said.

Unmanned aircraft are now overseen by ‘pilots’ on the ground, but as the drones become more sophisticated, the role of remote operators will be more hands-off.

From operator to supervisor

Instead of being “in the loop”, humans will be “on the loop”, said Maybury, explaining that operators will be able to “dial in” when needed to give a drone direction for a specific task.

“We’re moving into more and more autonomous systems. That’s an evolutionary arc,” said Peter Singer, an expert on robotic weapons and author of Wired for War.

“So the role moves from being sort of the operator from afar, to more like the supervisor or manager, and a manager giving more and more of a leash, more and more independence,” he said.

Despite the dramatic advances in technology, the American military insists humans will remain in control when it comes to using lethal force.

Lawyers aren’t ready for this

But the next generation of increasingly capable drones will stretch man’s capacity to control robots in battle, generating unprecedented moral and legal quandaries.

“These [technological] responses that are driven by science, politics and battlefield necessity get you into areas where the lawyers just aren’t ready for it yet,” Singer said.

Over the next decade, changes in computing power will enable teams of hi-tech drones to operate virtually on their own, or as ‘robotic wingmen’ to piloted aircraft, said Werner Dahm, the U.S. Air Force’s former top scientist.

At a testing range in the Arizona desert, Apache helicopters are flying together with unmanned choppers in experiments the Pentagon believes will serve as an eventual model for future warfare.

‘Alone and unafraid’ doctrine turned upside down

“We’re not far away from having a single piloted Apache or other helicopter system and a larger number of unmanned systems that fly with that,” said Dahm, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Arizona State University.

“These require very high levels of machine reasoning. We’re much closer to that than most people realise,” Dahm said.

The new technology has turned the U.S. Air Force’s doctrine upside down. For decades, the military trained pilots to face an enemy “alone and unafraid,” flying deep into hostile territory to strike at a target and then return home.

Now the Air Force is planning for scenarios in which different tasks would be divided up among manned and unmanned ‘systems’, with drones jamming enemy air defences, tracking targets and assessing bomb damage, while piloted warplanes oversee the launching of bombs and missiles.

“It’s difficult to prove something won’t go wrong”

Instead of the slow-flying turbo-prop Predator, future drones will likely more closely resemble their manned counterparts, with a longer range, more powerful jet engines and radar-evading stealth design, which the bat-winged Sentinel drone already has pioneered.

But the biggest technical hurdle for Pentagon-funded scientists is delivering an iron-clad guarantee that the more autonomous vehicles will not make a grievous mistake with potentially catastrophic consequences.

“You have to be able to show that the system is not going to go awry – you have to disprove a negative,” Dahm said. “It’s very difficult to prove that something won’t go wrong.”

Emotionless, ethical warriors

One veteran robotics scientist, Ronald Arkin, a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, believes that countries will inevitably deploy independent robots capable of killing an enemy without a human pushing a button.

Arkin, who has worked on U.S. defence programs for years, argues that robotic weapons can and should be designed as “ethical” warriors, with the ability to distinguish combatants from innocent civilians.

Without emotions to cloud their judgment and anger driving their actions, the robots could wage war in a more restrained, “humane” way, in accordance with the laws of war, Arkin said.

“It is not my belief that an unmanned system will be able to be perfectly ethical in the battlefield, but I am convinced that they can perform more ethically than human soldiers are capable of,” he wrote.


Alzheimer’s remains medical mystery as epidemic looms

by Mariette le Roux

Agençe France-Presse

As the population ages, finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease is increasingly imperative – but there will be a number of hurdles to overcome along the way.


Alzheimer's diseaseAlzheimer’s disease causes two-thirds of dementia cases and instances are expected to increase as the population ages.

Credit: iStockphoto

More than 100 years after it was first caught in the act of decaying a patient’s brain, Alzheimer’s disease remains one of medicine’s greatest challenges as it robs ever more people of their memory and independence.

Researchers make halting progress, reporting small steps forward along with many frustrating setbacks.

And while care for Alzheimer’s sufferers has improved since former U.S. president Ronald Reagan and British fantasy author Terry Pratchett helped lift the stigma, the key workings of the illness remain a riddle.

Alzheimer’s disease causes two-thirds of dementia cases – attacking one in 200 people – and finding a cure has never been more pressing as the world’s population grows and ages.

“There is going to be a tsunami in terms of [cost] burden,” Dean Hartley, director of science initiatives at the U.S. Alzheimer’s Association, said ahead of World Alzheimer’s Day on September 21.

A door to hope slammed last month when drug giants Eli Lilly, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson stopped tests of eagerly anticipated therapies that failed in clinical trials.

On September 6, French researchers announced plant extract gingko biloba, widely marketed as a natural Alzheimer’s remedy, did not actually prevent dementia.

Blaming insufficient funding, at least in part, researchers say they still do not know quite what to make of the plaques and tangles that German doctor Alois Alzheimer first spotted in the brain of a dementia patient who died in 1906.

Little follow-up work was done until the 1960s, partly because fewer people were then living to an age when the disease shows up.

Today, the sole drugs shut in our arsenal treat some symptoms but are powerless to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s.

“People are absolutely desperate for medicines – people suffering from the disease, and people close to them,” said Eric Karran, research director at Alzheimer’s Research UK.

“Where we are at the moment is a critical period for this disease,” he added.

“The pharmaceutical industry has had a range of very, very expensive failures. I worry they might be thinking: ‘this is very difficult and we will just have to wait until the science is more evolved’.”

Hartley and Karran said Alzheimer’s received a fraction of the money governments spend on disease research despite being one of the costliest illnesses in terms of suffering and spending.

Costs and complexity

Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) projects the number of people with dementia will rise from 35.6 million in 2010 to 65.7 million by 2030 and 115.4 million by 2050.

The cost, including hospital and home care, drugs and clinic visits, is expected to soar some 85% by 2030 from about US$600 billion in 2010 – roughly the GDP of Switzerland.

But money is not the only problem.

The disease is a particularly complicated one to crack, not least because its effect on humans is nigh impossible to replicate in lab animals.

Its slow progression is an added hurdle.

“The disease seems to be present in people’s brains maybe 15 years prior to … suffering symptoms,” said Karran.

Alzheimer’s normally becomes apparent around the age of 70, when family members observe a loved-one becoming forgetful and confused.

“When patients are available to be studied in clinical trials, you are actually looking at a disease that has been going on for 15 years,” by which stage neurons would already have died, said Karran.

Scientists disagree on the respective roles of beta amyloid plaque build-ups and of a protein called tau, which forms tangles inside these brain cells.

Most test therapies have targeted beta amyloids, but some now suggest it is actually tau killing the brain cells.

“We still do not understand the relation between the structural damage and cognitive symptoms exactly,” Dutch neurophysiology PhD student Willem de Haan said.

Researchers are aiming for a treatment that will halt the disease at an early stage – even before the onset of symptoms.

And while they have not succeeded, their work is throwing up some valuable clues along the way.

Already known is that a small percentage of people, more women than men, are genetically predisposed to developing Alzheimer’s. A family history of the disease boosts the risk.

Some studies suggest healthy living may reduce the chances of those people who do not carry Alzheimer’s-related genes of developing the disease.

Diagnostics, too, are improving: new research shows that a simple eye-tracking test and sleep disruption may be early indicators, helping victims make lifestyle choices before the disease steps into higher gear.

The experts believe that if governments, researchers and drug companies work together efficiently, a treatment may be available within 20 years.

But they also warn against giving false hope to desperate people.

“Finding a medicine for a chronic disease is far, far more complicated than, say, putting a man on the Moon,” said Karran


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