A recent issue of the journal Neurology published two separate case-controlled studies that showed a decreased risk for Parkinson’s disease associated with both cholesterol-lowering medication and blood pressure-lowering medication. A common class of cholesterol-lowering medications, HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (also collectively called “statins”), includes the well-known and often-prescribed atorvastatin (Lipitor), simvastatin (Zocor), lovastatin (Altocor, Mevacor), and pravastatin (Pravachol). In the current study, each of these drugs, except pravastatin, was associated with a 60 to 70% decreased risk of Parkinson’s disease.
With the Olympics in full swing, I cannot help but marvel at the strength, power, skill, and commitment of the athletes. Many of these men and women seemed destined for sports from an early age, while others trained hard to beat the odds and become world-class athletes. Most of us watching the games from the comfort of our own homes can only envy the athletes; we can only imagine what it must be like to have a gold medal placed around our neck and have our national anthem played just for us. But, alas, the glory fades and the games will come to an end in a matter of a few short weeks. The gold medals will be displayed in trophy cases and the athletes will move on to the next challenge, be it another sporting event, or the next stage in their lives. Whatever they choose to do, we may have another reason to envy them: they will likely live longer than most of us.
Most humans do not have the power to predict the future, but we can see it. At least we can see one-tenth of a second of it. The May-June issue of the journal Cognitive Science published a review by Mark Changizi of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, claiming that the human visual system has evolved to allow us to see fractions of a second into the future. When light hits our retina, it takes approximately 100 milliseconds, or one-tenth of one second, for our brain to perceive an image. While it seems insignificant, the delay is consequential when dealing with moving objects.
War is hard. It is hard on the economies of the countries involved; it is hard on the leaders of governments; it is hard on the families of those left behind for deployment; it is especially hard on the soldiers. It is no secret that, for generations of wars and military conflicts, soldiers have experienced stress and trauma that leaves a permanent mark on their health and well-being. For some soldiers, this may be a scar, a battle wound, or the loss of a limb. But for some soldiers, the damage is less apparent, manifested in mental health disorders, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and alcohol misuse.