Hearing loss linked to brain decline
What does hearing loss have to do with how the brain ages? A new study from Johns Hopkins University has found that the brain may decline faster in elderly people who have hearing problems than in those who don’t. The researchers theorized that the brain may rewire itself to account for the hearing loss and that could be a factor. Another possibility is that the brain decline is related to the fact that people who lose their hearing are more likely to be socially isolated.
The study observed more than 1,900 people in their 70s over a period of six years. Baseline cognitive and hearing tests were conducted and follow-up analysis was done over the length of the study. Those with hearing loss experienced a 40 percent faster decline in cognition.
Though many people have a loss of hearing capacity as they age, only 15 percent of Americans who experience hearing loss use a hearing aid, suggesting this problem could be significantly undertreated.
Childhood diagnoses of ADHD on the rise
Thirty years ago, ADHD was first defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, which identifies the psychological conditions in the world. Since then, diagnosis rates have increased significantly, including a dramatic rise in the last 10 years. In a study of 850,000 health records by Kaiser Permanente, researchers found that there was a 24 percent increase in ADHD diagnoses between 2001 and 2010.
The study looked at the records of an ethnically-diverse lot of children aged 5 to 11 who received care at Kaiser Permanente’s Southern California care center. Most significantly, there was a 90 percent increase in diagnoses among black girls, where white and black children were generally more likely to be diagnosed with the condition as compared to Hispanic or Pacific Islander children. Diagnoses among all black children increased 70 percent over this time period, white children had a 30 percent increase and Hispanic children a 60 percent increase.
Boys are three times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls, and families with an income over $30,000 were 20 percent more likely to be diagnosed than those below that income line.
Car crashes more deadly for obese drivers
There’s yet another way obesity is harmful to your health. A new report in Emergency Medicine Journal has found that obese people are more likely to die in car accidents than normal weight people. Those with Body Mass Index (BMI) rates between 30 and 35 were 20 percent more likely to die when involved in an auto accident than normal weight individuals; people with BMIs over 40 were 80 percent more likely to die in a crash.
Of course, there are numerous factors that could affect what happens in a car accident. However, this study observed data of 3,400 pairs of drivers (one from each vehicle) from 1996 to 2008, and only considered similar-sized cars, yet still found a correlation between obesity and accident fatalities.
One theory is that seatbelts did not engage as quickly in obese individuals, as excessive soft tissue in the abdomen prevented the seatbelt from fitting snuggly around the pelvis, as designed.