Trump’s dementia and racism have no limits

❝ On Tuesday morning, the President of the United States described the impeachment investigation against him as a “lynching.” This is not by accident.

Throughout his life — and especially in his latest turn as a politician — Trump has shown a willingness to weaponize race for his own gain.

❝ He has also shown that he possesses a deep and abiding victim complex, convinced he has been persecuted in ways that few, if any, people have ever endured in the history of the country.

❝ By comparing his current situation to lynching, Trump is engaging in both the weaponizing of race and his sense of victimhood. He is purposely dredging up some of the darkest images of our country to vent his anger and rally his supporters to his cause.

It is, in a word, gross.

I second that emotion. RTFA!

Time for Trump’s mental checkup


Evan Vucci/AP

❝ Two years after organizing a conference at Yale about how mental health professionals could warn the public ethically and effectively, our predictions have borne out to be true: Donald Trump in the office of the presidency has proven more dangerous than people suspected, has grown more dangerous by the day, and, without proper treatment, is becoming increasingly uncontainable.

People feel overwhelmed and helpless, and I wish now to say that there are things we can do. To know when to embark on a journey, we need meteorologists to tell us when a storm is coming and when it is safe to travel. To ensure that the captain is sharp and able, we need mental health professionals to examine signs that are in need of a check-up. What feels daunting to the general public is routine for the experts.

❝ So why would we not call upon mental health professionals now, especially when many of us are saying that avoiding an evaluation is itself a sign of mental impairment?

And it is only one of many signs.

I’ll second that emotion!

Is Alzheimer’s Caused By Germs?

❝ Dr. Leslie Norins is willing to hand over $1 million of his own money to anyone who can clarify something: Is Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia worldwide, caused by a germ?…

It’s an idea that just a few years ago would’ve seemed to many an easy way to drain your research budget on bunk science. Money has poured into Alzheimer’s research for years, but until very recently not much of it went toward investigating infection in causing dementia…

❝ For instance, would we see a day when dementia is prevented with a vaccine, or treated with antibiotics and antiviral medications? Norins thinks it’s worth looking into.

RTFA for more details and significant indicators, as well.

Donald Trump’s early-onset dementia inspires memes, e.g., #localmilkpeople

❝ Of all the strange things in a very unusual conversation between Donald Trump and Malcolm Turnbull, the internet has crowned just one to be the day’s meme-in-chief.

A newly published transcript of the phone call between the US president and the Australian prime minister shows the pair discussing a deal made under the Obama administration to resettle to the US more than 1,000 refugees currently held in Australia’s offshore detention centres.

It’s a deal that Trump is not happy with and he made it clear during what was an awkward and combative phone conversation back in January. Trump said the refugees – who are mostly from Iran, Sudan, Afghanistan and Pakistan – would go on to be the next Boston bombers, which Turnbull pointed out was unlikely since the Boston bombers came from Russia. No matter, Trump was still very displeased.

❝ “I hate taking these people. I guarantee you they are bad. That is why they are in prison right now. They are not going to be wonderful people who go on to work for the local milk people.”

Lots more examples in this GUARDIAN article.

Living by a busy road increases your eventual risk of dementia

❝ Living near a high-traffic road may cause more mental health problems than just sleep deprivation, according to Canadian researchers.

In a population-based cohort in Ontario, dementia, but not Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis was more common in people who lived close to a major road than those who lived further away from the road, reported Hong Chen, MD, of Public Health Ontario…and colleagues.

❝ According to Chen, “increasing population growth and continuing urbanization globally has placed many people close to heavy traffic. With the widespread exposure to traffic and growing population with dementia, even a modest effect from near-road exposure can pose an enormous public health burden.

“Quantitatively speaking, our study estimated that 7%-11% of dementia cases in patients who live near major roads were attributable to traffic exposure alone,” he explained…

❝ In an accompanying editorial, Lilian Calderón-Garcidueñas…of the University of Montana in Missoula, and Rodolfo Villarreal-Ríos, of the Universidad del Valle de México in Mexico City, wrote that the study “opens up a crucial global health concern for millions of people.”

❝ Additionally, the researchers concluded that exposure to nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter was also linked to higher dementia incidence, but did not account for the full effect…

He also suggested that changes in transportation emissions and land use policies may help to prevent dementia and improve public health.

Living in healthful surroundings with reduced pollution and noise seems like a standard easy to understand for most human beings. Perhaps our populist blather-meisters really are extra-terrestrial aliens in disguise. 🙂

Eating human brains protected a tribe from brain disease

The Fore people, a once-isolated tribe in eastern Papua New Guinea, had a long-standing tradition of mortuary feasts — eating the dead from their own community at funerals. Men consumed the flesh of their deceased relatives, while women and children ate the brain. It was an expression of respect for the lost loved ones, but the practice wreaked havoc on the communities they left behind. That’s because a deadly molecule that lives in brains was spreading to the women who ate them, causing a horrible degenerative illness called “kuru” that at one point killed 2 percent of the population each year.

The practice was outlawed in the 1950s, and the kuru epidemic began to recede. But in its wake it left a curious and irreversible mark on the Fore, one that has implications far beyond Papua New Guinea: After years of eating brains, some Fore have developed a genetic resistance to the molecule that causes several fatal brain diseases, including kuru, mad cow disease and some cases of dementia.

The single, protective gene is identified in a study published…in the journal Nature. Researchers say the finding is a huge step toward understanding these diseases and other degenerative brain problems, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

The gene works by protecting people against prions, a strange and sometimes deadly kind of protein. Though prions are naturally manufactured in all mammals, they can be deformed in a way that makes them turn on the body that made them, acting like a virus and attacking tissue. The deformed prion is even capable of infecting the prions that surround it, reshaping them to mimic its structure and its malicious ways…

The study by Collinge and his colleagues offers a critical insight into ways that humans might be protected from the still-little-understood prions. They found it by examining the genetic code of those families at the center of the Fore’s kuru epidemic, people who they knew had been exposed to the disease at multiple feasts, who seemed to have escaped unscathed.

When the researchers looked at the part of the genome that encodes prion-manufacturing proteins, they found something completely unprecedented. Where humans and every other vertebrate animal in the world have an amino acid called glycine, the resistant Fore had a different amino acid, valine…

When the scientists re-created the genetic types observed in humans — giving the mice both the normal protein and the variant in roughly equal amounts — the mice were completely resistant to kuru and to CJD. But when they looked at a second group of mice that had been genetically modified to produce only the variant protein, giving them even stronger protection, the mice were resistant to every prion strain they tested — 18 in all.

“This is a striking example of Darwinian evolution in humans, the epidemic of prion disease selecting a single genetic change that provided complete protection against an invariably fatal dementia,” Collinge told Reuters…

Unintended consequences – one of the best reasons in science for basic research.

Fortunately, for our economy, beaucoup CEOs recognize the importance of that process. Unfortunately, for our economy, damned few of the hacks holding elected office recognize the importance of that process.