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Report: Smoking, obesity and early-life education may affect dementia

A new report has made the case for raising awareness about the way lifestyle choices can affect your risk of dementia later in life.

It points out "there is no evidence strong enough at this time to claim that lifestyle changes will prevent dementia on an individual basis". However, evidence suggests the following could result in a lower risk:

  • Stopping smoking
  • Improved detection and treatment of diabetes and hypertension
  • Increased physical activity and reduction in levels of obesity
  • Education in early life

Strong evidence linking healthy lifestyle to low dementia risk

Dr Eric Karran, director of research at charity Alzheimer's Research UK, has welcomed today's report, saying:

Although there is currently no certain way to prevent dementia, this report underlines strong evidence suggesting we can lower our risk by adopting a healthy lifestyle.

A large body of research has linked high blood pressure, smoking and diabetes to an increased risk of dementia, and this analysis serves as another reminder that good heart health is an important route to good brain health.

Studies have also suggested that education in early life may help build a level of 'cognitive reserve', helping the brain to withstand the damage from diseases like Alzheimer's for longer in later life.

– Dr Eric Karran, Alzheimer's Research UK

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Health experts call for campaign to highlight how lifestyle affects dementia risk

Health experts are calling for a major campaign to educate people about how their lifestyle choices can affect their chances of developing dementia in old age.

Factors such as smoking and early-life education can affect your risk of developing dementia, the report finds Credit: PA

Factors such as early-life education, blood pressure and smoking can all play a role, according to a report commissioned by Alzheimer's Disease International.

The report argues for a campaign with a central message that "it's never too late" to make lifestyle changes, and that brain health should be factored into other public health campaigns.

Alzheimer's Disease International said that a major survey of 8,500 people from six countries showed that many are not sure how to reduce the risk of developing dementia.

HPV urine test could lead to 'self-sampling'

Urine tests for HPV could boost the number of lives saved by allowing women to take part in the screening process in the privacy of their own homes, scientists have said.

Researchers behind a study on alternatives to cervical smear tests, published on thebmj.com, explained:

In well-resourced health systems, self-sampling could be used for women who are reluctant to attend for regular cervical screening.

In lower income countries that lack infrastructure, self-sampling might even be beneficial and cost effective for all women who are eligible for screening.

More research is now required to identify the true clinical performance and acceptability of urine testing for HPV in both settings.

– Spokesperson for researchers

HPV urine test 'should be used instead of smear'

Women should have their urine tested instead of being given a cervical smear when doctors screen for the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) - an STD which can lead to cancer, experts have said.

Urine testing would encourage more women to come forward, experts said. Credit: REUTERS/Valentin Flauraud

Researchers from Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry found urine tests had "good accuracy" when it came to detecting HPV.

Of the 14 studies they examined, they found there was an 87% accuracy rate, and 94% of negative tests were correct.

Scientists hope adopting urine tests would boost HPV detection and save lives, as it is a less invasive and painful option than a cervical smear test.

Cervical cancer kills around 266,000 women globally, according to the World Health Organisation. While many strains of HPV are harmless, two of them - HPV 16 and HPV 18 - can trigger cancer.

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Obama: Chance of Ebola outbreak in US 'extremely low'

President Obama has said US government experts think there is an "extremely low" chance of an outbreak of Ebola in America.

Speaking at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Mr Obama said: "I want the American people to know that our experts here at the CDC and across our government agree that the chances of an Ebola outbreak here in the United States are extremely low."

Obama: Ebola epidemic is 'spiralling out of control'

President Obama has issued a stark warning that the spread of the Ebola virus is "spiralling out of control" in a way that could threaten global security.

He said that without rapid action, the number of victims could soon rise from the thousands to "hundreds of thousands".

Obama: The world is looking to US for Ebola help

President Obama has said the world is looking towards his government to help prevent the spread of the Ebola virus.

Speaking at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, he said: "The world is looking to us, the United States, and it's a responsibility we embrace."

"We're prepared to take leadership on this, to provide the capabilities that only America has and to mobilise the world in ways only America can do."

President Obama said the world was looking to the US to help with the Ebola virus. Credit: RTV

No 'red flags' since start of Ebola vaccine trial

A safety trial of an experimental vaccine for the deadly Ebola virus has been tested on 10 volunteers without any "red flags" indicating a negative reaction so far.

Another 10 volunteers will be injected in the coming days as part of the trial, which is taking place in the state of Maryland.

Researchers will determine not only whether the vaccine causes adverse reactions but also whether it triggers the production of antibodies against the deadly virus, which has claimed the lives of over 2,200 people in West Africa.

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