Tag Archives: Health

Too Much Tech Linked to Alzheimer’s

Too Much Tech Linked to Alzheimers
Source: VideoBlocks

If you are old enough to remember a time before mobile devices, smart tech and the Internet of things, you probably recall what it was like to remember your own phone number. Technology has changed the way we live, but it has also changed the way we think, learn, and otherwise process information.

It may also have changed the game, as far as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are concerned. According to some scientists, on-going research has already made a strong claim for a link between our over-dependence on technology and the disease. Of course, Alzheimer’s was known long before the first cell phone was released, so there are other factors at play. Too much tech may simply be helping them along.

A Glance at Alzheimer’s

Many people associate the disease popularly known for causing severe memory loss with old age. However, the early signs of dementia can start manifesting shortly after age 30, which is when body metabolism rates begin to decrease.

As many as 26 million people are currently affected directly by Alzheimer’s, and as much as 20 per cent of the world’s population is at risk of developing it. Early symptoms can include anxiety and depression, temporary unconsciousness, difficulties learning, and difficulties with speech or other forms of communication.

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Causes and Symptoms

It is unlikely that the excessive use of technology is the sole cause of the misunderstood illness; it could complicate matters if another factor linked to it is already at play.

Among those linked to Alzheimer’s are abnormal build-ups of protein on the brain, known as amyloid plaques, that affect mental functions, and a nerve cell-killing protein called Tau. Medical treatment has effectively prevented further damage caused by Tau in patients.

Other factors that could contribute to, or be warning signs of, developing the disease include social withdrawal and increasing loneliness, poor personal hygiene and grooming, and disturbances of sight, hearing, and sense of smell. Regular drinking and smoking, and even type 3 diabetes are also recognised as possible contributing factors.

The lack of mental exercise is widely recognised as a leading cause of dementia, as actively using the memory causes the brain to forge new connections. In addition to this very factor being highlighted by the modern dependence on smart technology, it is also evident in cases of patients with a poor academic background.

No Need to Quit Tech

Throwing out all your tech would be as pointless as a surgeon trading scalpels and lasers for flint knives. The smart move is to put the gadgets down for some time every day, and to use the time you would have spent Facebooking to do something that can help fight off other possible causes.

There are various ways in which you can decrease the risk of being diagnosed with it. You can practice balancing exercises for a minute twice a day. There is also a lot of brain-boosting to be had by reading novels and other books, as well as by doing crossword or Sudoku puzzles, or playing Scrabble and similar games, which is a perfect way to socialise and beat the loneliness.

Eating cabbage, curly lettuce, spinach, and legumes contain an amino acid known as folic acid. Studies have shown it can help reduce amyloid plaques. Turmeric has also been linked to preventing the disease, as has Vitamin E, which is found in sunflower seeds, olives, olive oil, nuts, and Jerusalem artichokes. Green tea, red fruit and berries, and Omega 3-rich cold-water fish are other foods to be included in a diet aimed at preventing the condition.

Through a combination of dietary tips and suggestions of activities, it is possible to live a life that supports not only a healthy body, but a healthy mind as well – and, yes, you can still Instagram it.

Men’s Testosterone Levels Linked To Luxury Goods

Hormones drive man’s lust for luxury
Source: Keith Middlebrook

Diving into the male psyche can be a tricky business. However, a number of academic institutes did just that, focusing primarily on the tendency for men to spend great deals of money on luxury goods. Some might see it as a fruitless waste of resources, but these institutes took the matter seriously, and came back with results that were in parts predictable and amusing.

The most notable aspect of the result was a link between high testosterone levels and a frequency of purchasing luxury goods. A result that could get a few knowing smirks, of course, but apparently there is some real science behind the conclusions, and a fair amount of interesting statistical evidence.

Serious Studies

The academic institutes involved in the study were ZRT Laboratory, the Wharton School, INSEAD, the Sorbonne University, and Caltech. The test subjects included 243 men, aged between 18 to 55. The process involved giving 50% of the men a testosterone laced gel, while the other 50% were given only a placebo.

Then, the group was asked which brands they preferred, with the options given including brands that were notoriously luxurious, and may require you to win big at an online casino in order to afford them, versus those that were less luxurious, and more known for being quality over opulence. As already guessed, those who had taken the gel seemed to prefer the luxury brands.

A further study had the men watch a series of commercials, after which they were asked to rate how much they liked them. The advertisements were designed to emphasise a different nature of the product, some being powerful and status related, while others a more sensible option. Again, the testosterone gel suggested that a need for status and dominance was linked to the hormone.

What’s The Link?

DNA links
Source: healthflow.eu

The study is not what would be called conclusive by any means, and the results suggest only a casual link between testosterone and a need to own luxury goods. But what exactly is this link between hormones and expensive products?

Colin Camerer, one of the study authors, spoke on the topic in a press release. According to him, the luxury goods are specifically pushed as being powerful status symbols in order to tap into primal male instincts. Namely, the ones that demand a man assert himself over others, and push himself as an alpha male. The luxury goods are presented as just that; a status symbol over others, and therefore a declaration of alpha male dominance.

In other words, Camerer clarified, these days men fight with their car model, clothing label, and material possessions, as opposed to physical violence. At least that’s the notion that the study is putting forward.

Do Hormones Rule Us?

Testosterone has been linked to aggression, so it certainly plays a part in the psyche, at least to some degree. Though, it’s difficult to draw a straight line between testosterone and the purchasing of luxury goods. As least as far as this particular study goes. Perhaps future studies will offer a bit more clarity.

Instead, it is probably fairer to say that luxury goods tap into the ego, as opposed to specifically those with high testosterone levels. Advertisers certainly know what they’re doing, after all. One brand costing more than another needs to justify its price, and there is no shortage of those who are willing to fork out a little more cash, if it means having status.

As to whether hormones play a role in this isn’t exactly clear, but one thing is for sure; hormones play a big role in our lives.