Egypt Independent: Life Style-Main news en British nurse makes full recovery from Ebola <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>&nbsp;</p><p>A British nurse who had been critically ill with Ebola after working in Sierra Leone has been discharged from a London hospital after making a full recovery.</p><p>Pauline Cafferkey was admitted to the Royal Free Hospital in north London on Dec. 30 after falling ill on her return from Sierra Leone, where she had been working for the charity Save the Children at a treatment center outside the capital, Freetown.</p><p>Cafferkey was the first person to have been diagnosed with Ebola on British soil.</p><p>&quot;I am just happy to be alive,&quot; she said in a statement released via the hospital. &quot;I still don&rsquo;t feel 100 percent, I feel quite weak, but I&#39;m looking forward to going home. I want to say a big thank you to the staff who treated me - they were amazing.&quot;</p><p>The Royal Free, Britain&#39;s main center for Ebola cases, also successfully treated British aid worker William Pooley who contracted the virus in West Africa.</p><div>&nbsp;</div><p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 20px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; font-size: 15px; font-family: georgia, 'times new roman', serif; line-height: 23px; ">&nbsp;</p> Sun, 25 Jan 2015 15:29:00 +0000 Reuters 2443170 at sites/default/files/photo/2012/07/30/72636/photo_1343648952019-4-0.jpg Sleep apnea tied to memory problems <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The ability to remember locations and directions may suffer when deep sleep is disrupted by breathing difficulties, a new study suggests.</p><p>People with sleep apnea tended to score worse on spatial memory tests after sleeping without their breathing aid, compared to mornings after they&rsquo;d used their breathing aids at night, researchers found.</p><p>&ldquo;There had been some evidence in animal models that REM sleep or dreaming sleep is important for spatial memory, but no one had shown or proven that in people,&rdquo; said Dr. Andrew Varga, the study&rsquo;s lead author from NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.</p><p>&ldquo;Spatial memory&rdquo; helps people remember how to get to their children&rsquo;s schools, or where they left their keys, for example.</p><p>It&rsquo;s thought that people may have difficulty forming new spatial memories if their deep sleep and shallow sleep are interrupted, according to Varga.</p><p>People with sleep apnea - some 18 million Americans, according to the National Sleep Foundation - experience numerous pauses in breathing that can last from seconds to minutes. As a result, people with sleep apnea are often tired when they wake.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>To see whether individuals with sleep apnea tended to have more difficulty forming new spatial memories, the researchers recruited 18 such people to spend two nights in their sleep center, about two weeks apart.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The volunteers had always slept with a so-called CPAP machine to eliminate sleep apnea. During one night in the sleep lab, they slept with CPAP. The other night, their CPAP was reduced or turned off during deep sleep to induce apnea.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>On each of the two nights, before they went to bed, participants were asked to complete a video game maze. The next morning, they completed the maze again.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>After a night of sleep with their CPAP machine, the time it took the volunteers to complete the maze improved by about 30 percent. They also traveled farther in the maze and spent less time backtracking.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>But after a night with sleep apnea, the volunteers were about 4 percent slower at completing the maze, compared to the night before.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;People had no improvement and actually on average they got a bit worse,&rdquo; Varga said. &ldquo;We interpret that to mean their consolidation in spatial memory wasn&rsquo;t as good when REM (deep) sleep was disrupted.&rdquo;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The researchers can&rsquo;t say whether the worse performance is directly from the disruptions in sleep caused by the apnea, or whether it&rsquo;s the lack of oxygen the condition causes.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Varga said they are testing the apnea or oxygen question now. They are also looking at whether apnea during shallow sleep affects spatial memory.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;The thought is that you need both (deep and shallow sleep),&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;If you don&rsquo;t have one or the other, you don&rsquo;t&rsquo; have the ability to consolidate the information.&rdquo;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Varga said he hopes the results of the study, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, will encourage more doctors to treat sleep apnea early &ndash; instead of waiting until the condition worsens.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Apnea is very common and has a variety of deleterious effects that have to do not only with cardiovascular health, but also there is an emerging dataset - of which this paper is only one piece - to suggest there are really cognitive effects also,&rdquo; he said.</p> Sun, 25 Jan 2015 10:18:00 +0000 Reuters 2443147 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/01/25/43/r.jpg Shorter sleep may speed brain aging <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>With less sleep, normal aging-related structural changes in the brain progress slightly faster in middle-aged and older people, according to a new brain imaging study.</p><p>Sleep troubles are more common with age, and shrinkage of certain brain structures is normal. But for the over-55 study participants, those changes could be seen accelerating slightly with each hour less of sleep each night.</p><p>&ldquo;Among older adults, sleeping less will increase the rate their brain ages and speed up the decline in their cognitive functions,&rdquo; said lead study author Dr. June Lo, a researcher with Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore.</p><p>Plenty of past research has shown that lack of sleep can worsen fuzzy thinking and memory problems in the short term, and at all ages, Lo and her colleagues note in the journal Sleep.</p><p>&ldquo;Our lab has also shown repeatedly in the past decade that in young adults, brain and cognitive functions are affected when people do not have enough sleep,&rdquo; she told Reuters Health in an email. &ldquo;As a result, we wanted to know whether sleeping less would affect brain and cognitive aging in older adults.&rdquo;</p><p>Fewer studies have looked at physical changes in the brain and their link to sleep over time, the report points out. And none have done it for older adults, according to the researchers.</p><p>To assess the effects of sleep duration on both thinking and brain structure, the study team analyzed data on healthy people over age 55 participating in the larger Singapore Longitudinal Aging Brain Study.</p><p>Lo and her colleagues looked at data on 66 Chinese adults who had previously undergone magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to measure brain volume in specific areas and had taken tests to assess their cognitive skills.</p><p>The researchers used questionnaires to determine participants&rsquo; sleep duration and quality, and measured blood levels of high sensitivity C-reactive protein, an indicator of inflammation.</p><p>When the cognitive tests and scans were repeated two years after the initial round, the researchers found those participants who slept fewer hours showed evidence of faster brain shrinkage and declines in cognitive performance.</p><p>The ventricles are fluid-filled spaces in the brain, and they expand as the brain ages, indicating a shrinkage of brain tissue. Faster ventricle enlargement is a marker for cognitive decline and the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer&#39;s, according to the authors.</p><p>For each hour less participants slept, on average, the rate of ventricle enlargement rose by 0.59 percent, after adjusting for other individual factors like weight, age, sex and education.</p><p>And for each hour less of sleep, the decline in cognitive performance increased by 0.67 percent - though the researchers caution that result was more variable and should be considered preliminary.</p><p>Lo and her colleagues found no links between inflammation and sleep duration or cognitive decline. Nor was sleep quality linked to the brain changes.</p><p>The study cannot prove that total sleep time caused the changes observed. Although the study subjects were free of any major diseases or diagnoses, the researchers did not determine, for example, if other factors that might affect both brain structures and sleep duration could account for the results.</p><p>The reasons why shorter sleep time might affect brain changes are still a bit of a mystery, Lo said, but there are several possible mechanisms.</p><p>&ldquo;Some have proposed that sleep loss increases inflammation which has a negative impact on the brain, but our own data do not support this view,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Alternatively, short sleep is associated with other medical conditions which may accelerate brain aging.&rdquo;</p><p>Dr. William Kohler said that although the new study was small, it was interesting and makes sense overall. Kohler, who was not involved in the study, is medical director of the Florida Sleep Institute.</p><p>He said that studies on mice suggest one possible mechanism may be that sleep removes wastes from the brain.</p><p>&ldquo;If one of the purposes of sleep is to remove toxic products, then if those products aren&rsquo;t removed because you&rsquo;re not getting enough sleep, you&rsquo;re going to be more likely to develop cognitive problems and degeneration later on,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Kohler added that as we age, our sleep mechanisms weaken so it&rsquo;s harder to get to sleep, but there are things people can do to improve sleep.</p><p>&ldquo;Avoid napping during the day, have a firm routine as far as going to bed at the same time, get up at the same time and try to ensure that we get to sleep by following good sleep hygiene techniques,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Kohler suggested that the environment should be dark and quiet enough for sleep and that the mattress should be comfortable. In addition, he suggested avoiding alcohol, cigarettes and exciting activities close to bedtime.</p><p>&ldquo;Many people think that sleep is something you can sacrifice if you have work to do, a game to watch, etc.,&rdquo; Lo said. &ldquo;Therefore, insufficient sleep is so common that CDC has announced this as a public health epidemic.&rdquo;</p><p>She added that people should understand sleep is crucial for many physiological functions, such as cell repair and memory consolidation.</p><p>&ldquo;Knowing that there are negative health consequences of sleep loss may motivate some to sleep more,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Having good sleep hygiene and habits may improve the amount and quality of sleep.&rdquo;</p><p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 20px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; font-size: 15px; font-family: georgia, 'times new roman', serif; line-height: 23px; ">&nbsp;</p> Sat, 24 Jan 2015 08:00:00 +0000 Reuters 2443070 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/01/22/43/sleeping.jpg Titanic survivor letter sells for nearly $12,000 <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>An indignant letter from a British aristocrat who survived the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 has sold for $11,875, an auction house in New England said Friday.</p><p>Lady Lucy Duff-Gordon, a target of public outrage after she fled the doomed ocean liner on a near-empty lifeboat, penned the two-page letter in London a month after the disaster.</p><p>&quot;How kind of you to send me a cable of sympathy from New York on our safety,&quot; the fashion designer wrote to a stateside friend.</p><p>&quot;According to the way we?ve been treated by England on our return we didn&#39;t seem to have done the right thing in being saved at all!!!! Isn&#39;t it disgraceful.&quot;</p><p>RR Auction, which regularly handles Titanic memorabilia, had expected the letter to fetch as much as $6,000 at Thursday&#39;s live auction in Boston, which followed a week of online bidding.</p><p>&quot;We remain fascinated by the Titanic tragedy and will for years to come,&quot; the firm&#39;s executive vice president Bobby Livingston said in a statement Friday.</p><p>Duff-Gordon and her husband Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon were traveling first class on the Titanic on its ill-starred maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York.</p><p>They became the subjects of derision when it emerged that their lifeboat carried only 12 people, including seven crew members, despite having room for 40.</p><p>Some 1,500 died when the Titanic went down off Newfoundland on April 15, 1912 after hitting an iceberg, in what remains the most storied maritime tragedy of all time.</p><p>The couple were alleged to have bribed the crew in order not to go back to rescue other survivors -- a claim that a British inquiry concluded was unfounded.</p><p>They were the only passengers called to testify before the inquiry, conducted by the British Wreck Commissioner in London from May through mid-July 1912.</p> Sat, 24 Jan 2015 02:40:00 +0000 AFP 2443120 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/01/24/499612/titanic_survivor_letter_sells_for_nearly_12000.jpg