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Dementia cases could rise threefold by 2040

The number of people suffering from dementia is expected to double every 20 years and could reach more than 81 million worldwide by 2040, health experts predicted last week in the journal Lancet. Scientists from Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), an umbrella organisation of Alzheimer associations around the world, estimate that 24.3 million people currently suffer from dementia. Cases are rising by 4.6 million a year or one every seven seconds. Without prevention, the number will hit 42 million in 20 years and nearly double again by 2040 with the bulk of the increase being predicted in India, China, South Asia and the western Pacific. Alzheimer’s is the leading cause of dementia in the elderly. According to the ADI, the figures could have important implications for policy makers and health care providers around the world.

Coffee habit dies hard

Women who are hooked on caffeine and have a family history of alcoholism may have an especially tough time giving up their morning coffee during pregnancy, a study in the American Journal of Psychiatry has found. The study of 44 pregnant women noticed that while most gave up or cut down on caffeine, those with both caffeine dependence and a family history of alcoholism were much less likely to be successful. The findings, according to researchers, suggest that a genetic vulnerability toward addiction in general makes the caffeine habit hard to break for some. Headache, fatigue, craving and difficulties getting through daily tasks were among the common reasons women cited for failing to cut back on caffeine.

Meatless diet fights high BP

Consumption of vegetables, fruits, and other plant foods seems to reduce the risk of elevated blood pressure, whereas an intake of meat raises the risk, according to a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers evaluated 15-year incidence of elevated blood pressure ' defined as BP of 130/85 or use of a BP lowering agent ' in 4,300 subjects, comprising roughly equal numbers of men and women, aged between 18 and 30 at baseline. It was found that as the plant food intake increased, the risk of elevated blood pressure fell by as much as 36 per cent, the researchers write in the journal.

How to get male babies

The longer it takes to become pregnant, the more likely it is that the baby will be a boy, says a report in the British Medical Journal. As it turns out, it may relate to the thickness of the fluids that cover the cervical opening to the womb. A longer time to conceive is associated with thicker fluids that may favour the entry of a Y-carrying male sperm over an X-carrying female one.

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