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Hearing Loss May Herald Cognitive Decline

Posted Feb 01 2013 10:09pm
Posted on Jan. 30, 2013, 6 a.m. in Sensory Brain and Mental Performance

In that dementia and its characteristic cognitive dysfunctions are projected to double every 20 years due to the aging of the worldwide population, identifying the factors in understanding the pathways of this decline are reemerging as a public health focus.  Frank R. Lin, from The Johns Hopkins Center on Aging and Health (Maryland, USA), and colleagues studied 1,984 older adults, average age about 77 years, enrolled in the Health ABC Study, a prospective observational study begun in 1997-1998.  A total of 1,162 individuals with baseline hearing loss had annual rates of decline in test scores that measured global and executive function that were 41% and 32% greater, respectively, than those among individuals with normal hearing. Compared to those individuals with normal hearing, individuals with hearing loss at baseline had a 24% increased risk for incident cognitive impairment, according to the study results. "Our results demonstrate that hearing loss is independently associated with accelerated cognitive decline and incident cognitive impairment in community-dwelling older adults," the authors comment. "The magnitude of these associations is clinically significant, with individuals having hearing loss demonstrating a 30 percent to 40 percent accelerated rate of cognitive decline and a 24 percent increased risk for incident cognitive impairment during a six-year period compared with individuals having normal hearing."

Frank R. Lin, Kristine Yaffe, Jin Xia, Qian-Li Xue, Tamara B. Harris, Elizabeth Purchase-Helzner, et al, for the Health ABC Study Group. “Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline in Older Adults.”  JAMA Intern Med. 2013;():1-7; January 21, 2013. 

  
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#115 - Emergency Water Disinfection
In the event of a natural disaster, which may compromise your access to water from your tap or bottle source, follow these techniques to purify water for drinking:

  Boiling - vigorously, for 10 minutes

  Bleaching - add 10-20 drops of household bleach per gallon of water, mix well, and let stand for 30 minutes. A slight smell or taste of chlorine indicates water is good to drink. (Note: do not use scented bleaches, colorsafe bleaches, or bleaches with added cleaners.)

  Tablets - commercially available purification tablets

  Solar disinfection, known as SODIS - a new technique developed by researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute for Environmental Science and Technology. Clear plastic bottles are filled with water and left in the sun. The heat warms the water and the combination of warm water and ultraviolet radiation kills most microorganisms. The Institute’s tests showed that 99.9% of the E. coli in a sample of contaminated water were killed when the sun heated the water beyond 122F (50C). At that temperature, disinfection takes about an hour, but placing a corrugated metal sheet under the bottle can shorten the time. Additional tests demonstrate SODIS as an effective approach for killing the cholera bacteria, Vibrio cholerae, and that it could inactivate parasites including the diarrhea-causing Cryptosporidium.
 
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