UPI NewsTrack Health and Science News

Close relationships may slow Alzheimer's

BALTIMORE, July 23 (UPI) -- A close relationship to a caregiver may slow decline in an Alzheimer's patient, U.S. researchers say.


A report published in The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences suggests the patient-caregiver relationship may directly influence progression of Alzheimer's disease. The beneficial effect of emotional intimacy the researchers saw among participants was on par with some drugs used to treat the disease.

The researchers examined 167 pairs of caregivers and Alzheimer's patients -- residents of Utah's Cache County.

Drugs may help protect against dementia

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., July 23 (UPI) -- A class of medication used to treat high blood pressure may protect older adults against memory decline, U.S. researchers said.

"High blood pressure is an important risk factor for Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia," lead author Dr. Kaycee Sink of Wake Forest University School of Medicine said in a statement.


"Our study found that all blood-pressure medications may not be equal when it comes to reducing the risk of dementia in patients with hypertension."

The researchers analyzed data from the Cardiovascular Health Study, a long-term study of cardiovascular risk factors that involved 5,888 people age 65 and older.

Heat wave may have caused Fla. fish kill

MIAMI, July 23 (UPI) -- Thousands of dead fish were found in Florida Bay this week, possible victims of the summer heat, Everglades National Park officials say.

A fish kill normally happens nearly every year in the Everglades, The Miami Herald reports, with floating redfish, snook and other species covering about 20 acres between Buoy Key and the coast.

However, fish kills are not typically this big, said Dave Hallac, the park's chief of biological resources.

"It's just the size of it that was concerning,'' he said.

An investigation is under way.

"Menacing" squids really quite timid

KINGSTON, R.I., July 23 (UPI) -- Reports of swimmers menaced by giant squids off San Diego raised the ire of marine biologist Brad Seibel, who found the awesome "monsters" are really timid.

And, Seibel says, they're afraid of the light.

"I want to spread the word that they aren't the aggressive man-eaters as they have been portrayed," said Seibel, who has taken moonlight swims surrounded by a big gang of squids.


For years, Seibel, a biologist at the University of Rhode Island, had heard stories claiming that a Humboldt squid will devour a dog in minutes and could kill or maim unsuspecting divers.

He said he didn't believe the hype but was a little nervous when he and his team went looking for squids beneath the nighttime waters of the Gulf of California in 2007. In no time, he found them -- about a hundred of them, he guessed -- but they showed no hostility and when he turned on his flashlight, they fled.

NASA celebrates Chandra X-Ray's 10th birthday

HUNTSVILLE, Ala., July 23 (UPI) -- NASA is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Chandra X-ray Observatory, already in a mission twice as long as originally planned.

Chandra was launched July 23, 1999, aboard the space shuttle Columbia and deployed into orbit. Officials say it ushered in an unprecedented decade of discovery and enabled astronomers to investigate phenomena from comets to black holes.

To commemorate the 10th anniversary, the first of three new versions of its major discoveries were released Thursday. All will be designed, over the next three months, to provide new data and a more complete view of objects that Chandra observed at earlier stages.


Thursday's image is that of the spectacular remains of an exploded star.

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