Many over-the-counter medications linked to irreversible dementia

According to the findings of new research, long term use of over-the-counter medications could cause permanent dementia.

Pet scans have revealed that the brains of older adults who took some of these medications for years had actually shrunk.

Sure enough, that sounds like permanent damage.

Specifically, they’re referring to long-term use of an “antihistamine known as diphenhydramine, which is commonly sold as Benadryl and included in many over-the-counter medications for cold and allergies.”

The counter-argument, of course, is that the “active ingredients are approved by the FDA and recognized as safe and effective when taken as instructed.”

You can decide for yourself about that.

Self-driving cars could be hitting showrooms sooner than we thought

It looks like we’ve been sneaked up on by a new revolution we thought would only happen decades from now—if at all during our lifetime.

But here’s what:

“Self-driving cars, long dismissed as a utopian pipe dream, are rapidly reaching the stage where they will be ready for the market. ‘We’re not talking about 20 years here, but more like five,’ says Sebastian Thrun, initiator and director of Google’s project.”

In fact, one study foresees self-driving cars hitting showrooms as soon as 2019.

Just think: If they perfect the technology—and it becomes mandatory for all vehicles on public roads to comply—injuries and deaths from road accidents would be things of the past.

That would surely be a welcome development.

Bathroom horror as python grabs man’s genitals while he sits on the loo

One can’t begin to imagine the horror of being in the position of the man who sat on the loo and felt something sharp latch on to his member:

Reflexively, he reached down with his hand, and, horror of horrors, discovered that “he had caught hold of the head of a huge snake that had clamped its jaws around his privates.”

“The 38-year-old immediately screamed for his wife and began fighting the serpent — which refused to let go of his member.”

And a horrific, frantic, blood-soaked struggle between man and python ensued.

Talk about a man’s worst nightmare come true!

Swimmers warned over snake-like ‘vampire fish’ invading Britain’s rivers

Sea lampreys are horrifying snake-like ‘vampire fish’ that can grow up to four feet in length and as thick as a man’s wrist.

They use their funnel-shaped mouths, filled with razor-sharp teeth, to attach themselves to their prey—usually other fish, but, if hungry enough, human swimmers also—in order to feed off its flesh and blood.

And here’s what:

The Swimmer’s Daily website has warned outdoor swimmers to “keep an eye out” for the scary fish.

In an article named “ancient, ugly and swimming up British rivers” the site says that summer sees the adult fish swimming upstream to spawn.

The fish, which are older than dinosaurs, had been declining in the UK because of pollution and manmade structures in our rivers.

But, the site reveals: “The cleaning up of the rivers and provision of passes to allow them to get round weirs and other obstructions has allowed them to recolonize rivers that had not seen a lamprey for many years.”

Sea lampreys are also found in lakes and rivers across the United States and Canada.

Medical errors are a major cause of death in hospitals

Someone I knew back in the day, who lived in a small town in South Africa, was diagnosed with a stomach tumor and a date was set for its surgical removal.

But as the day for surgery drew near, she grew increasingly uneasy about the diagnosis and decided to go to a nearby big city for a second opinion.

The new tests showed no trace of a tumor but revealed, instead, a minor ailment that could be—and was—successfully treated non-surgically.

If you think a major medical error like that is something that could happen only in a poorly equipped small town medical facility, and even then, only once in a blue moon—think again.

Medical errors, here in the United States of all places, are the third leading cause of death, “claiming 251,000 lives every year, more than respiratory disease, accidents, stroke and Alzheimer’s.”

In fact: “Nightmare stories of nurses giving potent drugs meant for one patient to another and surgeons removing the wrong body parts have dominated recent headlines about medical care. Lest you assume those cases are the exceptions, a new study by patient safety researchers provides some context.”

Furthermore, according to scientific research evidence, when doctors go on strike around the world patients actually stop dying.

For instance:

“Doctors withdrew their labor, in the different strikes analyzed, from between nine days and 17 weeks. Yet all the different studies report population mortality either stays the same, or even decreases, during medical strikes. Not a single study found death rates increased during the weeks of the strikes, compared to other times.”

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Crash-Dieting Can Lead to Serious Weight-Gain Repercussions

According to the latest research, the only way to lose weight and keep it off is to do it slowly by permanently changing your eating habits.

In other words, don’t crash-diet.

Otherwise, you’ll only put it all back on again—probably with interest—and likely slow your metabolism and deplete your hunger-stopping hormones for years to come.

If that happens, you’ll find it impossible to lose weight again just by cutting calories. Then, the only way for you to keep the fat at bay will be to live a life of always being hungry.

The tea that costs more than 30 times its weight in gold

It’s incredible what some tea drinkers are prepared to pay for a pot of their favorite beverage:

“In 2002, a wealthy purchaser paid 180,000 yuan — almost $28,000 — for just 20g of China’s legendary Da Hong Pao tea. Even in a culture that’s valued tea drinking as an art form for around 1,500 years (and has a system of tea classification that makes French wine look simple), the price was astonishing.”

Astonishing, is putting it mildly. “Original Da Hong Pao doesn’t just cost its weight in gold — it costs more than 30 times its weight in gold: almost $1,400 for a single gram, or well over $10,000 for a pot. It’s one of the most expensive teas in the world.”

You absolutely wouldn’t want to knock the teapot over.

Speed-reading isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

How fast is it humanly possible to read? According to an article in the Mail Online, it’s possible to read a novel in 25 minutes and still be able to recall all the plot simply by practicing and mastering an ingenious technique.

But then again, a more recent article in the Mail Online contradicts the premise of the earlier one:

In a world of email and social media, speed reading could be the answer to the always on generation’s prayers.

However, researchers studying the techniques and apps available say they don’t work.

They looked at decades of research—and concluded speed readers don’t remember what they read.

‘Examining decades’ worth of research on the science of reading, a team of psychological scientists finds little evidence to support speed reading as a shortcut to understanding and remembering large volumes of written content in a short period of time,’ they said.

I once got taken in by the claimed benefits of speed-reading and decided to give it a go. I practiced reading ‘groups of words as a whole unit rather than individually,’ as prescribed according to the dogmata.

Several vicious eye-strain-induced headaches later, I gave it up as a bad job.

Reading at my normal speed, I usually get lost in a story; books provide me with hours of unsullied pleasure that can seem as fleeting as minutes.

But when I practiced speed-reading, the reverse was the case; minutes seemed as drawn out as hours, and the intense concentration required was sheer agony.

Nevertheless, if mastering speed-reading could have saved me time while also enhancing my ability to absorb and remember the written material, I might have persevered. But the fact was that speed-reading both wasted my time and hindered my ability to absorb and remember more than just the gist of what the written material was about.

Of course, the proponents of speed-reading continue to extol the purported benefits to be derived by mastering the technique, but their assertions run contrary to scientific opinion—which is that speed-reading simply doesn’t work, that the argument ‘that speed-reading training helps you absorb more information in a single glance than you typically do’ doesn’t hold water.

According to researchers, the speed at which we are able to process text is directly related to our ‘capacity to recognize words and understand text.’ And ‘how many words our eyes take in at a time’ has nothing to do with it.

I heartily concur. In fact, it’s in keeping with the best advice I ever got on how to process text effectively. It came from a book by L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology, entitled Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health that I happened to read about 35 years ago (By the way, I’m not—nor ever have been—a member of the Church of Scientology.):

In reading this book, be certain you never go past a word you do not fully understand.

The only reason a person gives up a study or becomes confused or unable to learn is because he or she has gone past a word that was not fully understood.

So much for speed-reading.

Good and bad news for coffee drinkers

Probably coffee won’t kill you. That’s according to Dr. Greg Marcus, a professor at the University of California-San Francisco who specializes in the treatment of arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats, “the fast, sluggish, or off-kilter rhythms that can trigger sudden cardiac arrest.”

That’s the good news for coffee drinkers.

But then again, he “cautions that the heart risks of caffeine may depend on the individual and that more work needs to be done to unpack the role of a patient’s unique genetics and environmental exposures.”

That’s the bad news for coffee drinkers.

What Dr. Marcus is saying, essentially, is that probably coffee won’t kill you, but you never know, it just might kill you.

Is that supposed to be reassuring to coffee drinkers?

Motherly love — warthog style

The last thing a hungry leopard expected, after grabbing a warthog piglet by the neck, was the furious reaction of the mother warthog.

‘When I pushed the shutter of my camera I heard a noise and thought it was the piglets fighting with one other.

‘But it was a leopard who had appeared from nowhere and caught one of the warthog piglets.

‘The leopard was trying to pin her potential kill to the ground and the piglet was screaming and kicking to try and get away from the leopard.

‘The next moment the mother came running back from behind my vehicle at full speed dropping her head and hit the leopard in the ribcage.’

And the end result of the encounter was that the leopard came off third-best.