Brief asides


POSTED: Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Island girls rock the sports world

Island Girl Power was in full force this past weekend. First came the women softballers of Hawaii Pacific University, staying alive at home field with back-to-back wins to propel them to the NCAA Division II national championship's Elite 8. Play opens Thursday in St. Joseph, Mo. Then there was the University of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine softballers, playing in Palo Alto, Calif., who overcame Stanford then Texas Tech to advance to an NCAA super regional. If the Wahine can get past top-seeded Alabama in the Tuscaloosa Super Regional this weekend, it's on to the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.


Deadly diseases never take a break

Measles was close to being eradicated in much of the world, but a decline in vaccination rates has spurred its resurgence. Britain is among countries suffering outbreaks, following a sharp drop in immunization rates in the late 1990s sparked by the publication of a flawed paper linking autism to the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. Britain has reported 1,000 cases in each of the last two years—more than 10 times the figure a decade ago.


Dementia caregivers might be at greater risk of dementia themselves

One of the more disturbing medical studies released this month found that elderly people who care for a spouse with dementia are six times more likely to get dementia themselves, compared with people whose spouses did not get dementia.

As explained in the May edition of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, the couples studied comprised 229 out of 1,221 from northern Utah who agreed in 1995 to be tracked through the years regarding their mental status.

The study had no concrete conclusion about why there is a greater risk of dementia if you care for a spouse who has it, but one guess was that the spouses are under such stress that their immune systems are compromised; another is that sharing the same environment is somehow the cause.

Not surprisingly, lead researcher Maria Norton of Utah State University concluded that, “;Given the significant public health concern of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, and the upcoming shift in population age composition, continued research into the causes of dementia is urgent.”;