Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Do I REALLY Want to Know If I Am Likely to Get Altzheimer's Disease in 20 Years?

We have this notion in economics that more information is a good thing. Well, most of us do; there's that contingent of elitist interventionists who want to choose for us.

But I'm not sure I want to know if there is a ten percent greater than average chance that I will develop Altzheimer's Disease within the next twenty years. If the predictive tests are positive, what would I do other than worry (and/or drink) a whole bunch more than I already do about loss of short-term memory? Well, maybe by then there'll be a treatment of some sort. Would my employer have to know?

From the Daily Telegraph: [thanks to BenS for the link]

Lisa Mosconi and colleagues at the New York University School of Medicine used positron emission tomography, or PET, scans to look at the brains of 53 normal elderly people. They then watched for as long as 24 years to see who developed Alzheimer's.

Nine did, while 19 developed mild cognitive impairment, which can worsen into Alzheimer's.
The PET scans detected reduced activity in an area of the brain called the hippocampus, which is known to be damaged in Alzheimer's. A 15 to 40 per cent reduction in activity in the hippocampus, as measured by PET, predicted 85 per cent of the Alzheimer's patients nine years in advance, Mosconi said.

It predicted 71 per cent of the cognitive-impairment cases.

Dr Neill Graff-Radford of the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville and colleagues found that blood levels of a protein called amyloid beta 42 plunged three to five years before a patient was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
Possible preventatives include fruit juice, vegetable juice, and alcohol.

Amy Borenstein of the University of South Florida and colleagues found Japanese-Americans who drank the most fruit and vegetable juice had a fourfold lower risk of developing Alzheimer's than similar people who drank little or none.

... Mark Sager of the University of Wisconsin and colleagues recruited people whose parents had Alzheimer's and found one clear way to predict who would also get the disease - how much alcohol they drank.

He found that moderate drinkers had a lower risk of Alzheimer's than either non-drinkers or heavy drinkers.
Fruit juice, vegetable juice, and alcohol? Well, maybe one out of three will help . . . . some . . . . I hope.
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