Lots of dietary supplements have been touted as helping prevent cognitive decline in older adults, though almost none have any compelling empirical evidence to back up their claims (which tend to be carefully couched to avoid regulatory scrutiny).
A new study provides a bit more scientific rigor, albeit mixed results. Researchers conducted a study with more than 2,200 participants, all over the age of 65. Some were given a cocoa extract supplement containing flavanols, compounds promoted for their restorative powers; some received a multivitamin; and some got a placebo. They completed cognitive testing before and after the one-year study.
The researchers found no difference in global cognition between those who took the cocoa extract and those who did not, but participants who took the multivitamin had higher cognition scores than those who didn’t. Significant improvements were also seen in memory and executive function. Cocoa extract had no effect on either.
The researchers said more work remains before they can recommend daily multivitamin supplementation to prevent cognitive decline, but it’s food for thought. Of course, a balanced and nutritious diet is also good for thought, no vitamin necessary.
Mulch Ado About You
In 2027, a new law in California will allow dead people to be buried, cremated or composted, which officially is called “natural organic reduction.” The approach, already approved in four other states, is intended to be environmentally friendly: Cremation creates a big carbon footprint; burial can lead to toxic embalming chemicals leaching into the soil.
The process involves placing a body inside a metal or wooden vessel surrounded by organic matter, such as wood chips or alfalfa. Over six weeks to six months, the corpse is reduced to soil, which can be returned to the earth.
Human composting costs between $3,000 and $8,000, compared to an average funeral cost of just under $7,000 for cremation or $9,400 for traditional burial.
Get Me That, Stat!
A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that high school students who experience violence, suicidal thoughts or actions and substance abuse are more likely to also carry a gun. Overall, the pre-pandemic Youth Risk Behavior Survey reported that 1 in 15 males and 1 in 50 females said they’d carried a gun in the past 12 months for other than recreational purposes, such as hunting or target shooting.
Suicide and homicide are the second and third leading causes of death in this demographic group, behind motor vehicle injury. Most of those homicides (93%) come from firearm injuries, and firearms are the most common method (46%) that 14- to 17-year-olds use in suicide.
Crit: Short for hematocrit, which is the percentage by volume of red blood cells in your blood
Phobia of the Week
Enochlophobia: fear of crowds
Q: What do you get when a doctor goes back in time to teach himself medicine?
A: A pair o’ docs.
“When future archaeologists dig up the remains of California, they’re going to find all of those gyms, their scary-looking gym equipment, and they’re going to assume that we were a culture obsessed with torture.” — Canadian novelist Douglas Coupland
This week in 1992, the first robot-assisted human hip replacement was performed on a 64-year-old man with osteoarthritis. The Robodoc device was used at Sutter General Hospital in Sacramento, California, under an investigational device exemption approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Ten more Robodoc-assisted hip replacements soon followed. In 2008, the system finally received FDA approval after business issues delayed further testing and commercialization.
Many, if not most, published research papers have titles that defy comprehension. They use specialized jargon, complex words and opaque phrases like “nonlinear dynamics.” Sometimes they don’t, and yet they’re still hard to figure out. Here’s an actual title of actual published research study: “Gut microbe to Brain Signaling: What Happens in Vagus …”
The paper investigated the role of the vagus nerve, which connects visceral organs and the brain.
Q: What is the largest joint in the human body?
A: c) The knee is the largest joint. It has to sustain the greatest stresses because it supports the entire weight of the body above it.
King Kong Kirk was a 350-pound, 40-year-old professional wrestler in Great Britain. In 1987, he participated in a match with another oversized wrestler, Big Daddy, who weighed in at a just slightly less 336 pounds.
During the match, Big Daddy attempted his most famous move: running and diving atop an opponent lying prostrate on the ring. Daddy, whose real name was Shirley Crabtree, apparently crushed Kirk, who did not get up.
Efforts to revive Kirk failed and he was pronounced dead on arrival at a nearby hospital. No specific cause of death was cited.
To find out more about Scott LaFee and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.