By Melissa Wuske
Reducing Risk of Dementia
A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine suggests that higher levels of education, along with better cardiovascular health contribute to a decline in new dementia cases. The study followed families who were part of the Framingham Heart Study beginning in 1942. Researchers found that the population with at least a high school education had a decline in new dementia cases over a period of 40 years, and that same group saw an increase in overall cardiovascular health.
While the study is open-ended, it suggests overall benefits of heart health and education on dementia. “You can take steps to postpone the disease,” said Dallas Anderson, a program director on dementia at the National Institute on Aging. Today about 5 million people deal with dementia, and that’s been projected to triple by 2050. But as education about the disease increases, “There’re more studies suggesting that the risk is going down and we might have to rethink some of the projections of how big a problem dementia will be 30 years from now,” said Dr. Kenneth Langa of the University of Michigan.
Nepal’s Christian Growth
Nepal used to be nearly all Hindu, but now it has one of the fastest growing Christian populations, according to the World Christian Database. Nepal’s Nagarik newspaper recorded zero Christians in 1951, but by 2001 the number rose to 102,000 and has risen to 375,000 since then—some sources hypothesize that the true number is actually higher.
What’s behind the increase? Prior to 1950 the country was closed to outsiders. Now its open borders allow for tourism and other forms of international interaction. Nepal’s mountains are a big draw from climbers worldwide, and some climbing groups like Climbing for Christ (C4C), based in Rochester, New York, have taken advantage of the chance to share the grace of Jesus while they scale the mountain peaks.
Additionally the devastation in recent years caused by earthquakes has been met by ineffective governmental response. But nonprofits and aide groups, many of which are Christ-focused, have been able to reach people with physical aid and spiritual hope.
A Reason to Celebrate
In 2011 in India there were 914 girls the age of 7 for every 1,000 boys of the same age. That statistic, along with his personal experience, changed Dr. Ganesh Rakh, founder of a small hospital in western Indian.
“The biggest challenge for a doctor is to tell relatives that a patient has died. For me it was equally difficult to tell families that they’d had a daughter,” said Rakh. “They would celebrate and distribute sweets if a male child was born, but if a girl was born, the relatives would leave the hospital, the mother would cry, and the families would ask for a discount.”
So Rakh made a decision: “I decided I would not charge any fee if a girl was born. Also since a son’s birth was celebrated by the family, we decided we [the hospital] would celebrate a daughter’s birth.” Now 464 girls have been born at his hospital since he began the program in 2012.
Afraid Kitty Will Hate You?
Some cat owners worry that if they limit their feline’s food in order to help their pets maintain a healthy weight, the cats will be aggressive or depressed. After an alarming rate of cat obesity, a study was done; the results showed that when a cat’s diet is limited, it actually becomes more affectionate after being fed—and the length of its pre-meal whining doesn’t increase. “We don’t know why, but cats don’t hold a grudge if you limit their food,” said Dr. Bonnie Beaver, executive director of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists.
Melissa Wuske is a freelance editor and writer. She and her husband, Shawn, live and minister in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Find her work online (melissaannewuske.com).