Friday, March 27, 2009

Health Headlines - March 27

Experts Put Worldwide Cost of Dementia at $315.4 Billion

Worldwide prevalence of dementia may be much higher than previously thought, costing societies around the globe an estimated $315.4 billion, say scientists attending the Alzheimer's Disease International conference this week in Singapore.

Health-care and social services systems in developed and developing countries are under strain dealing with what the experts said was a "greying of the world." Projections indicate as many as 29.4 million people suffer from Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia, the scientists reported in a news release about the conference issued Thursday. And, worldwide prevalence of dementia may quadruple to almost 120 million people by 2050, they added.

Treating worldwide dementia includes $105 billion for informal care -- non-professional care usually provided by families -- that makes up 37 percent of the total dollars. Seventy-seven percent of dementia treament costs occurred in the world's more developed regions, according to the news release.

"In light of the rapidly growing future prevalence estimates, in particular in less developed regions, the economic impact of dementia is a great challenge for every society," Dr. Anders Wimo, of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at the Karolinska Institutet, in Stockholm, said in the news release.


U.S. Halts Trial of Concentrated Saline Solution for Shock

A clinical trial studying the use of concentrated saline solution in trauma patients suffering from severe shock due to severe bleeding has been halted early by the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute because there was no benefit to patients.

In the study, the solution was given to patients as they rode in ambulances to hospital. But patients who received the concentrated saline solution were no more likely to survive than those who received a normal saline solution.

Saline solution is widely used in trauma patients to compensate for blood loss and buy time until they can receive blood transfusions in the hospital. It's believed concentrated saline solution compensates for blood loss more effectively, lessens excessive inflammatory responses, and prevents brain swelling, the NHLBI said.

A parallel study of concentrated saline for traumatic brain injury without shock continues.


Energy Drinks Increase Blood Pressure, Heart Rate: Study

Energy drinks can boost blood pressure and should not be consumed by people with high blood pressure or heart disease, say U.S. researchers.

They found that drinking two cans of an energy drink a day increased blood pressure and heart rate in healthy adults, United Press International reported.

These increases were insignificant for healthy people but could prove harmful to those with a heart-related condition, said lead author James Kalus, senior manager of Patient Care Services at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

"Based on our findings, we recommend that people who have hypertension or heart disease and are taking medication for them to avoid consuming energy drinks because of a potential risk to their health," Kalus said in a news release,UPI reported.

Caffeine and taurine levels in energy drinks could cause the increases in blood pressure and heart rate, the researchers said. The study was published in theAnnals of Pharmacotherapy.

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