Medical notes this week…

Nodding off very often during the day may be an early warning sign of Alzheimer’s disease. A study in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia shows that tau proteins that are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s damage daytime wakefulness areas of the brain long before memory starts to go. An examination of Alzheimer’s patients brains shows they’d lost as many as three-quarters of their wakefulness neurons.

Surveys show that about a tenth of Americans over age 18 either use illicit drugs or don’t use their medications the way they’re supposed to. So now the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is recommending that doctors screen all adults for drug use. The federal panel’s guidelines are an effort to cut the opioid epidemic. But it doesn’t specify how doctors are supposed to carry it out. They could simply ask patients about drug use or have them fill out a questionnaire, and hope they get an honest reply.  

And finally, if you’re really stressed, a nice glass of red wine really could be just the ticket. A study in the journal Neuropharmacology shows that the plant compound resveratrol blocks an enzyme in the brain that ramps up stress. Resveratrol is plentiful in the skin and seeds of grapes, and in red wine. Researchers say the findings suggest resveratrol could be an effective alternative to drugs for patients with depression and anxiety disorders. 

“Surveys show that about a tenth of Americans over age 18 either use illicit drugs or don’t use their medications the way they’re supposed to. So now the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is recommending that doctors screen all adults for drug use.”


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