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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Media Hype May 16, 2013

We know that financial concerns influence what researchers study. Sometimes large pharma or other companies provide grant money to institutions and steer research in ways that may benefit them.Of course   there is always the potential that a new breakthrough will benefit science and all humankind.

Companies exist to make money. If the product or service they sponsor helps the consumer that's wonderful; the business grows and everyone is better off.

Alzheimer's disease is in the forefront these days for research grants and for new business start-ups. That's great as we need new breakthroughs to discover the cause and the prevention of this devastating disease.

I belong to a google search Alzheimer's disease which every week lands descriptions of the most popular new research trends   and failures into my inbox. Two of these which came to my attention this morning are of concern to me. 

The first is a research which studied over a period of three years which study subjects developed squamous cell or basal cell carcinomas (skin cancers) and which developed signs of dementia and came up with a correlation that suggests that folks who have these non-melanoma skin cancers are less likely to develop dementia. 

The second is a new business which claims to assess an individual who pays $1200 or $1500. to a new firm to come up with a Brain Reserve Index. The higher the number the greater would be the person's ability to resist  the development of Alzheimer's disease. If the number is low, the firm would provide specific diet and exercise to improve the person's score.

With the speed of the internet these articles get wide attention for good or not. I can see folks reading the headlines and deciding "skin cancer's not so bad; this way I won't get Alzheimer's."

I can also see folks paying large sums of money to see if their Brain Reserve Index is high enough to prevent Alzheimer's.

CORRELATION is NOT CAUSATION.  So far dementia is random, hitting any of us at any time. Don't be lulled into false hope. Stay healthy, eat well, exercise in moderation and read carefully. 

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