Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 4th 2015 Contents A26
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, November 4, 2015
More needs to be done to tackle a dual threat of
patients having both tuberculosis (TB) and diabetes,
global health experts say.
A declaration made at a summit in Indonesia warns
that the convergence of the two illnesses represents
a "looming co-epidemic."
The statement calls for greater co-ordination in
testing and treating diabetes and TB. Experts say
progress in this area has not been fast enough.
Six countries projected to have significant numbers
of diabetes patients---China, India, Brazil, Indonesia,
Pakistan and Russia---are also classed as having a
high burden of TB.
Diabetes weakens the immune system and triples
the risk of people developing TB. Patients also respond
less well to TB treatment and are more likely to have
the infection recur.
Prof Anthony Harries, from the International Union
Against TB and Lung Disease (The Union), said:
"There s evidence that if we treat diabetes and TB,
we reduce the risk of these poor outcomes.
"In India, for example, there s a national policy
for TB patients to be screened for diabetes. But it s
only been implemented in a couple of southern states.
The TB world tends to have good monitoring sys-
tems---and they are already used to giving people
blood tests for HIV.
"Many people with diabetes don t know they have
it, so this is one small way of identifying some of
them. We have more work to do to persuade diabetes
doctors to screen for TB. They don t always perceive
it as a huge issue, because they are more worried
about eye problems and gangrene.
A document launched in 2011 by The Union and
the World Health Organization says TB patients
should be screened for diabetes. It also calls for dia-
betics to be screened if they live in countries which
have a high burden of TB. (BBC)
Brain training---playing online games that give
memory and reasoning skills a workout---is bene-
ficial for older people, a large-scale study has con-
Researchers at King s College London found the
mental exercises kept minds sharp and helped people
with everyday skills such as shopping and cooking.
Nearly 7,000 people aged 50 and over signed up
for the six-month experiment, launched by BBC TV s
Bang Goes The Theory. Longer studies are now begin-
The volunteers were recruited from the general
population by a partnership between the BBC, the
Alzheimer s Society and the Medical Research Council.
As far as the investigators were aware, none had any
problems with memory or cognition when they signed
up to the experiment.
Some of the volunteers were encouraged to play
online brain training games for ten minutes at a time,
as often as they wished. The others---the control
group---were asked to do simple internet searches.
The researchers tested the subjects on a series of
medically recognised cognitive tests at baseline and
then again at three months and six months to see
if there was any detectable difference between the
The researchers found after six months, those who
played "brain training" games for reasoning and
problem-solving kept their broader cognitive skills
better than those who did not.
The benefit appeared to kick in when people played
the games at least five times a week.
And people more than 60 who played
these games reported better scores for car-
rying out essential everyday tasks, the Jour-
nal of Post-acute and Long Term Care
But an earlier analysis by the same
researchers suggests brain training has no
benefit in people younger than 50.
The researchers from the Institute of
Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at
King s are starting a longer trial to establish
whether this approach could help prevent
the development of dementia.
Dr Doug Brown of the Alzheimer s Society
said: "Online brain training is rapidly grow-
ing into a multi-million pound industry
and studies like this are vital to help us
understand what these games can and can-
not do. While this study wasn t long enough
to test whether the brain training package
can prevent cognitive decline or dementia,
we re excited to see that it can have a pos-
itive impact on how well older people per-
form essential everyday tasks." (BBC)
The researchers found after six months,
those who played "brain training" games for
reasoning and problem-solving kept their
broader cognitive skills better than those
who did not.
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
News and Advice
Online brain training helps older adults
of diabetes, TB
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